I got my DNA nutrition traits, but now what?
Genetic testing services that focus on nutrition can give you an enormous amount of information about how your genetic variants may affect the way your body processes and absorbs nutrients. If you have not yet taken a nutrition DNA test, check out our article on the 7 best nutrition DNA testing services to see how you can learn about your nutrition with a simple cheek swab!
This article is for people who have their DNA nutrition test results in-hand, or are maybe interested in getting additional nutrition testing, but unsure how to implement the recommendations into their lives. Keep reading for step-by-step instructions on how to implement your best nutritional diet based on your DNA.
First things first… Diet and Exercise
Nutrition DNA testing is not a panacea. In other words, simply knowing how your DNA affects your nutrition is not enough to create or maintain health. Study after study has shown that the healthiest people are those who exercise regularly and eat a well balanced and healthy diet.. If you are trying for weight loss, both of these aspects are super important.
So, before you get too concerned with details like what vitamins you should be supplementing or what types of food you should avoid, get yourself in a healthy routine. This means daily exercise, eating lots of fruits and vegetables, and avoiding processed, sugary, and fatty foods. This is a process in itself, so give yourself some time to get a good, healthy routine started.
Now, fine-tune your routine!
Your DNA nutrition results will contain many recommendations on genetic markers you carry. The results may suggest that you cut back on certain types of foods such as carbs, fats, or protein. They may also tell you how your DNA may affect your ability to create or absorb specific vitamins and minerals. Some sites also give you advice on working out, such as your muscle type or your body’s oxygen-carrying capacity.
This is a lot of information!
The best way to make use of this information is to formulate a plan and tackle each recommendation like a nutritionist. That means testing each recommendation with the scientific method! To start, consider each recommendation like a separate hypothesis.
Make a Hypothesis
For example, if your nutrition DNA trait results suggest that your body needs extra Vitamin D because of your genetic information, make this into a hypothesis. The hypothesis should be formulated as an if/then statement, like this:
My DNA results suggest I need more vitamin D. Therefore, if I increase my Vitamin D intake, then I will feel and perform better both mentally and physically.
Test Your Hypothesis!
Now, you simply have to test this theory. Before you add extra Vitamin D into your diet, record how you feel for a week, and record your physical performance after you work out. Record things like your attitude, mental clarity, running times, or the number of reps you can do of a specific exercise. This will give you a baseline to see if Vitamin D improves your mental and physical wellness.
After the week is up, follow one trait recommendation at a time from your nutrition DNA results (such as Vitamin D intake, or any other recommendation). For a recommendation of more Vitamin D, this may mean eating more vegetables rich in the vitamin, supplementing your diet, or even just spending more time in the sun (this can boost vitamin D levels). Follow this recommendation for a week or more, and record your mental and physical performance every day.
Compare the Results!
To really know what recommendations help and which do not, you will need to compare your data sets before and after you changed your diet. This method can show you exactly which recommendations work, and which ones you don’t need to worry about.
If, after one week of changing your diet to include the recommendation, your results show that you are performing better mentally or physically, keep the change! A positive change in your results after the change suggests that the change was beneficial to your overall health. Alternatively, you may find that the change did little or nothing to improve your wellbeing, or you may experience weight gain. In this case, it may make sense to not continue with the change. However, do keep in mind that some changes may take more than a week to make a difference. If you are unsure, perhaps consider seeing a doctor to get their opinion or pursue alternative testing to see if your levels or symptoms differ when adding and subtracting the change.
Once you have determined the effect of one recommendation, move on to the next! At the end of the process, you will be reasonably certain which recommendations you need to incorporate into your life, and which recommendations do not seem to help you. With these points in mind, you can formulate your optimal diet and lifestyle for your overall health and wellbeing!
Regardless of what your dna test may say, never feel hesitant to consult a doctor or professional on your results.
Learn Even More With Your Raw DNA Data!
Nutrition testing kits are a fun and practical way to learn more about how your DNA may affect your diet and exercise routine, but nutrition is only one small aspect of your genetic data. If you want to explore the full range of information available, check out these companies! These companies analyze your raw DNA data file to give you ancestry DNA information, genetic disease risks, fitness info, food sensitivity predictions, mental attributes, and many other traits influenced by gene variants. Best of all, many of the companies below offer free reports. Check them out!
To find out more DNA upload sites, check out our article "The Best DNA Upload Sites"