How does your genetic information affect your nutritional needs?

This is the exciting new area of personalized genomics.  This involves testing your genes for variations, called SNP’s (single nucleotide polymorphisms) that make us individuals biochemically.   Testing can give us information about how well (or not) your cells are working in areas of detoxification, making proteins, breaking down neurotransmitters, and using vit D, among other functions.

You may have heard of the gene MTHFR.  If someone has this SNP, their ability to utilize folic acid (a B vitamin) can be greatly affected.  This can influence many diseases including depression, fatigue, even pregnancy and the risk for neural tube defects.  We can overcome the challenges created by this genetic variation by supplementing with methylfolate, the active form of folic acid.  In fact, there is a drug composed of this special vitamin which is used to augment anti-depressant medication.

There is now testing that is inexpensive ($99.00 through the website 23andme) that gives us this genetic information.  The data received can then be interpreted through other sites and a personalized nutritional supplement plan can be built based on your individual genetics.