The importance of diet to sustain health and prevent disease has been known for a long time. Until recently, nutrition research concentrated mainly on nutrient deficiencies and inpairment of health but since the mapping of the human genome this is starting to change. Penny was the first Scottish BANT (British Association of Nutritional Therapy) member to qualify as a Nutrigenemtic Counsellor in February 2015.
Nutritional genomics is a relatively new and very fast-moving field of reseach and combines molecular biology, genetics and nutrition in a "systems" model (i.e., the whole body is considered). It provides a genetic understanding of how diet, nutrients or other food components affect the balance between health and disease by altering the expression and/or structure of an individual's genetic make-up.
Your genes (mutations) can determine your body's response to foods
Variation of the apolipoprotein E4 gene can influence how your body handles fat and cholesterol meaning that you are more responsive to a cholesterol lowering diet but a fish oil supplment could raise your "bad" cholesterol levels.
Foods can affect how your genes are "expressed"
Virgin olive oil has been shown to activate some genes in white blood cells that repair DNA, protect against oxidative stress and mediate inflammation and cell death (processes which are all known to be involved in hardening of the arteries).
The uniqeness of how your body responds to foods and how your genes are expressed can affect your metabolism, health status and risk of disease.
Nutrigenetic counselling uses knowledge of your unique set of genes to maximise your potential for optimal health.