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Ask the RD

Question: What is your professional opinion about nutrigenomic testing, and how do you see it fitting into a personal training studio?

Answer: I find the field of nutrigenomics fascinating and its discoveries incredibly exciting; however, I believe there is much more to learn and understand before the practical application of the science can be used effectively in personal training studios or private nutrition practices.

Let me share some background on the technology. Nutrigenomics is the study of how foods affect our genes and how individual genetic differences can affect the way we respond to nutrients in the foods we eat. Think of it as a personalized dietary evaluation based on your individual genetic makeup. What makes this science so attractive is the potential ability to construct customized diets—even menus—for clients to ensure optimal health based on foods to which their genes are predisposed.

The first draft of the human genome was published in 2001 after a 20-year international effort called the Human Genome Project. While early expectations that the human genome would be integrated into medical practice are becoming more of a reality, the use of nutrigenomic testing to provide dietary advice is not ready for routine nutrition practice. Use of this technology will require that health professionals understand, interpret and communicate very complex test results.

Until then, each client’s nutritional needs will have to be addressed the old-fashioned way: via biochemical markers, family history and lifestyle habits. Stay tuned!

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