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Every individual is unique, not only in terms of physical and genetic makeup but also in the choice & consumption of food. Your food preferences may be driven by a combination of factors - your taste preferences, your culture and based on your belief system and mental models - this applies all kinds of diets - mediterranean, vegan, keto, paleo, Atkins, DASH diet etc...
However your nutritional requirements are unique to you and this can be calculated based on your genetics, your lifestyle and other factors like age, gender and weight. So how do you know what nutrients you need more or less of? If you’re on a vegan diet are you getting enough of Omega3 fatty acids like EPA and DHA that’s mostly present in seafood? What if on top of this you also have a genetic mutation that lowers your ability to convert ALA - a plant based Omega 3 fatty acids to EPA and DHA? Similarly, if you are on a meat based ketogenic diet, how do you know you are having the right combination of fats and electrolytes like potassium or nutrients like magnesium? Nutritional genomics has progressed enough that we can now start using it for personalized micronutrient fortification and supplementation.
The Link Between Food and Genes
The absorption of nutrients from the food is a critical step in the digestion process as it allows the nutrients to become part of our body. This absorption is controlled by genes and every individual is genetically diverse in respect to their nutrient needs and absorption potential - this is central to the paradigm of gene-diet interactions.
The link between food and our genes and how certain nutrients can control the working of our genes is a process that is as old as we are. The two spheres of research that is focused on gene-diet interaction are called nutrigenomics and nutrigenetics.
Preventing Nutritional Deficiency
So how do you prevent nutritional deficiency? You can’t always go by dietary reference intake values because it considers everyone as an average person and doesn’t take into factor individual genetic predispositions. You should ideally get all vital nutrients from food as much as possible because you are getting vitamins and minerals, as well as bioactive phytochemicals - like flavonoids and carotenoids. However, for a majority of people it’s not possible to have food with ideal nutrition everyday. Its very hard to carefully monitor the nutritional content in food you eat along with the bioavailability of individual nutrients. This is where supplementation comes into play. It helps in lowering your nutritional deficiency risk.
The idea of using personalized supplements and nutrition is not new. Many chronic diseases and genetic disorders are being successfully managed using this approach. The concept of food-medicine is a powerful alternative to straight up consuming pharmaceuticals.
Polymorphisms and Health Conditions
The use of iron and iodine fortified food has shown to eliminate micronutrient deficiencies. There are two countries in Europe have even gone to the extent of changing their government policy of fortifying foods with iron based on the risk of HFE gene polymorphisms and iron overload risk associated with it. The requirements of other nutrients such as calcium, selenium, folate, vitamin D, vitamin k, vitamin B12 and omega 3 are also known to be associated with polymorphisms.
An imbalanced diet or having problems with absorption of nutrients can impair the functioning of genes or can be traced back to a mutated gene. This understanding of gene-diet interaction is critical in managing the symptoms of chronic disease and in improving your quality of life.
How does Gini customize your supplements?
Gini customizes your formula by taking into account your micro-nutrient genetic risk factors and accordingly customizes the daily values for different nutrients. Apart from your genetic micronutrient deficiency risk, Gini also considers other factors like your age, gender and how easily a nutrient gets absorbed via food sources. Each formula is as unique as you. Here’s the list of gene adjusted and non gene adjusted nutrients.
When there are no genes available to make adjustments, Gini adjusts your custom formula based on your age and gender. You can also change the values based on your actual deficiency levels inside the app and modify Gini’s suggestions. We make sure that all the nutrients are always in the safe limits to avoid toxicity. Like your health reports on Gini, this information keeps updating as new research and information about genes surfaces and other health based inputs from you become available.
Our formula uses all natural ingredients. It has no added fillers and is gluten free/ vegan friendly. No artificial ingredients like sugar or sweeteners are added. All products are checked by a nutrition expert and samples are randomly tested by a lab before it is brought onboard our health store. You can get started today by uploading your existing DNA data from 23andMe and Ancestry DNA to Gini, or by buying a Gini Health DNA test kit.