I first wrote about genomics testing in a previous blog and since then, I have had the opportunity to order and interpret a few tests for a few of my athletes. At first glance you would think genomics testing is nothing special but once you see the data, it's a game changer. I want to highlight the practitioner (me) vs. athlete (you) take on a genomics report.
This is a ton of cool data! I see which genes have SNP's on them and then I figure out how these genes interact with the other genes in the systems of the body. Does one SNP affect another which makes a certain cycle or protein less or more active? What about the affects this has on which foods I should recommend to my athlete? Does my athlete have to take certain supplements in addition to eating certain foods in order to complement their genomics and individual SNP's?
These are all of the questions that initially go through my head when looking at the genomics report. Of course, I then progress to looking at the different categories of genes and SNP's such as eating behaviors, immune system, inflammation, oxidative stress, thyroid, and weight management (these are all markers on one specific genomics panel-called the sports genomics panel). There is a more comprehensive panel that looks at many more genes and can help an athlete understand more health markers related to gene SNP's rather than those just affecting their sport performance.
It's great information for sure. I take it and put it into more understandable language for the athlete, spend some time discussing it with him/her, and then come up with a better daily nutrition plan. Easy peasy (so to speak).
This is a ton of cool data! I can see pages of pages of information but I really don't know what to do with it (most athletes look at each gene SNP individually instead of in groups of how they affect other systems of the body). Is this saying that I am going to gain weight or that I have increased risk of some diseases due to some SNP's on my genes? Do I have SNP's on genes that affect my body's ability to fight inflammation and oxidative stress? What does all of this mean????
Yes, it can be confusing if you just have a report sent to you with no interpretation from a qualified specialist. Just like any test really. You want to be sure that you are working with someone who knows how to interpret the results but also how to package it into your life, exercise and nutrition habits.
My point in circling back and writing about genomics testing is that with more and more of these tests that I am ordering and interpreting for my athletes, the more I gravitate toward the importance of testing. Be it blood work, metabolic efficiency, sweat sodium concentration, or now, genomics testing, it will really provide a portfolio of information regarding your health and how to improve your lifestyle to improve your performance.
I put myself through the ringer of genomics testing and sprung for the most comprehensive package. What I learned is some of the most incredible information that I have never known before. I wish I would have done this 20 years ago so I could have shaped my eating and exercise behaviors a bit more intelligently instead of just going with the flow.
I truly believe that genomics testing, coupled within the nutrition model, will be a game changer for all athletes, regardless of age, sport or level. It takes the guesswork out of how your body is working at the most deepest level.
Have I changed my daily nutrition habits based on my genomics report? Oh, you bet I have! I will save that information for a future blog. And there you have it. A little teaser for you in hopes that you contemplate the need to justify having genomics testing done on you.
Until next time...