DNAFit – Genetic information for Fitness & Nutrition

If you know me or have read my blog before you may know I’m very passionate about self-experimentation. As a scientist, I find published research extremely valuable generally speaking, but when it comes to individual circumstances there’s nothing like testing things on yourself and finding out what works.

I had been thinking about getting a DNAFit analysis ever since I heard about this company in podcast land. It wasn’t until recently, when I grabbed a discount code from another podcast, that I finally bought 2 kits: one for me and one for my husband using his birthday as an excuse.

The process is simple: order your kit on the DNAFit website, wait until it arrives from the UK, get a sample of your cheek cells in the provided plastic tube, send your kit back and wait patiently for your results.

Results come in 3 PDFs: one with the fitness bit, one with the diet bit and a handy infographic with a summary of recommendations, perfect for people who prefer pictures over words. The reports explain in detail which genes are analysed, what is your allele (the combination of bases in that particular gene) and its effect on your body. The results are also available online.

dnafit_screenshot

There were a few things I wasn’t surprised to hear:

  • Saturated fat sensitivity = low, i.e. I can deal with saturated fat just fine, which makes absolute sense considering my blood lipids are always stellar even though my saturated fat intake is almost twice the recommended limit
  • I’m lactose tolerant which explains why I generally don’t get any digestive discomfort when consuming dairy (I do get some respiratory issues but that could be something else in the dairy rather than the lactose)
  • I have raised alcohol sensitivity (thanks mum for those Asian genes)
  • I have slow caffeine sensitivity, which means a cup of coffee after lunch will likely wreck my sleep
  • Raised omega-3 need, which makes sense because most of my health issues are inflammatory in nature
  • Raised anti-oxidant need, for the same reason
  • Raised vitamin D need due to the colour of my skin making it less efficient at absorbing sunshine
  • High injury risk – this applies to soft tissue injuries, which makes absolute sense considering all the injuries I’ve had in the past few years
  • Fast recovery speed, which explains why it takes me so little time to recover between sets when training

These were the things that made me go WTF??!!

  • Low carbohydrate sensitivity, which means I can theoretically relax my guard when dealing with CHOs… however my family history of diabetes and n=1 experience with starches and sugar tell me this is probably a case of epigenetics having a bigger impact than the genetic predisposition itself
  • Raised salt sensitivity which I didn’t expect because I have such low blood pressure even though I typically eat lots of salt
  • My power/endurance response is 18.8% vs 81.2% which is just CRAZY to me considering I’ve always SUCKED big time in endurance activities (e.g. long-distance running, swimming) and done way better in power activities (e.g. sprinting, weightlifting)

I didn’t have any expectations around the following topics:

  • I don’t have Coeliac Disease predisposition (woohoo!). The funny thing is that my husband do has a predisposition, even though he’s the one who refused to try going off gluten when I first found my gluten intolerance issues
  • Normal vitamin B need
  • Normal cruciferous vegetable need, which means that my detox pathways work just fine
  • Detoxification ability medium to fast, same as above
  • Medium VO2 max response

The diet report also comes with tips, recommendations and a suggested optimal diet (either Mediterranean, low carb or low fat), which in our case was Mediterranean. I must say I found this recommendation a bit on the “everything in moderation” camp, but I might be wrong. In summary, we’re both meant to cut down on sat fats, eat more MUFAs and PUFAs (especially omega-3), watch our glycemic load intake (Alvaro more than me), don’t go crazy on the caffeine, get more sunshine, and get more antioxidants. Alvaro also has to up his folate and cruciferous vegetable intake. We have already introduced daily citrus fruit in our diet and I’m aiming to increase our fish intake in lieu of some of the meat.

Now, for the million-dollar question: would I recommend getting this analysis? Depends. If you have the money, the curiosity and the intention to implement suggestions, go for it (especially if you can score a discount voucher like I did). Same if it’s important for you to optimise your health and/or performance, for example if you are a professional athlete.

Want to learn more? Go to the DNAFit website.

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