Could a simple DNA test find your perfect diet?

Scientists say nutrigenomics could herald a new hope in personalised health care. Picture: Ian Rutherford / TSPL.
Scientists say nutrigenomics could herald a new hope in personalised health care. Picture: Ian Rutherford / TSPL.
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A SIMPLE DNA test could be key to working out the best way to lose weight, according to a top nutritionist.

The emerging science of nutrigenomics studies the effect that food, vitamins, minerals and lifestyle can have on gene expression in the body.

Proponents of nutrigenomics say examining these DNA structures in the body can help patients cope with chronic illness, as well as helping with fitness levels and fat loss.

They say that examining changes to a person’s genes, by using a simple saliva test, nutritionists can prescribe a specific nutrition regime.

Though the science is still in its infancy, it is thought nutrigenomics could soon play a bigger role in public health.

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Two Scottish nutritionists have recently become the first in the country to become qualified in the science.

Anne Pemberton, who runs an Masters course in Nutritional therapy in York, will be one of the speakers at a Power of Nutrition event in Edinburgh on Saturday.

She said genes can be switched on or off by your day to day food choices and how you live your life.

“For some people, nutrigenomics can be life changing and for nutritionists it can be a valuable tool. It offers individuality in a way we haven’t had before,” she explained.

Ms Pemberton said the science didn’t heavily rely on offering patients vitamins and supplements.

“Since studying nutrigenomics I actually have far less supplements, we can do things much simpler. Sometimes it’s a lifestyle choice or about managing stress. It can also be about treating an underlying infection.

“People may react to a certain food or nutrient, and now we can see why they are reacting to the food and deal with this.

“If you had two people who both wanted to lose weight, we would be able to offer an individual approach. We can look at how the body metabolises sugar and fat for example.

“There is a massive push in the NHS at the moment to get people up to speed with nutrigenomics,”

The Power of Nutrition event is funded by the British Association of Nutritional Therapists (BANT). It will take place on Saturday, 14th May from 9.30am at The Place Hotel on York Place.

FOr more science stories, please visit The Scotsman Future Scotland