Genetic testing offers new possibilities for a healthier life

In-depth insights into your individual genetic makeup will offer you new possibilities for a healthier life. Armed with an analysis of your individual genetic variations, dieticians, healthcare professionals and fitness specialists can now create personalised programmes that go beyond the “one size fits all model”.

The complete mapping of the human genetic information, first announced in 2003, revolutionised biomedical research and gave scientists a new understanding of the mechanisms of health and disease. This knowledge can effectively guide exercise programmes, diet strategies and the prevention, management and treatment of some common diseases.

“Studies show that patients who undergo genetic testing and gain knowledge of a genetic predisposition for disease are more likely to make the necessary lifestyle changes to reduce this risk.”

“The advances we have made based on genomic research have allowed us to take a quantum leap towards healthy living. DNA testing offers a structural model for efficient healthcare, which is preventative, coordinated and evidence-based,” says Dr Daniel Meyersfeld of DNAlysis Biotechnology, a molecular biotechnology company based in South Africa.

Prevention is better than cure

Genetic testing offers additional benefits over and above those of conventional disease monitoring tools, which allows patients to detect conditions before there are any observable signs. Studies show that patients who undergo genetic testing and gain knowledge of a genetic predisposition for disease are more likely to make the necessary lifestyle changes to reduce this risk. One such example is the genetic test for hypercholesterolemia, where individuals who had undergone the test show a higher than 86% adherence to their treatments after two years, compared to a 38% adherence prior to testing. Genetic testing therefore gives patients a powerful incentive to make lifestyle changes and to treat their conditions earnestly.

One size does not fit all

“Human DNA is 99.9% the same – it is the remaining 0.1% that makes us unique. It determines how each individual responds to stress and toxins, certain foods and exercise regimes, and it is even responsible for changes in cholesterol regulation, inflammation and insulin sensitivity. Research has found that 40% to 80% of the variance in your body weight is determined by genetic factors – which means that no single weight-loss solution will work equally well for everyone,” says Meyersfeld.

Although exercise and diet strategies are used routinely to manage weight, there is a huge variability in how individuals respond to these interventions. Individuals with different genotypes have differing responses to similar diets or levels of physical activity.

 Your genes are the key

DNAlysis Biotechnology offers various personalised programmes based on advances made in Nutritional Genomics – the science of how genetic variations influence nutrient metabolism. The first of its kind in the world, DNA Diet tests for the eight genes involved in weight management and therefore has far-reaching potential in the prevention of diet-related disease.

“The DNA Diet test will enable consumers to unlock their genetic code and, by providing them with valuable information that is unique to their own personal DNA, it will help them make informed dietary choices,” says Meyersfeld. “If an individual is aware that their body cannot process certain fats – a factor which could translate into an escalated risk of developing high cholesterol – altering their lifestyle could be life-saving. By limiting their intake of saturated fats, the risk of heart disease and strokes that occur with narrowed arteries is likely to be reduced.”

“Genetic testing is at the forefront of modern medicine. As such, it is a science that has attracted a great deal of investment and research. There is a growing community of medical practitioners who are taking note of these genetic insights and using this valuable information in the management and treatment of their patients. With South Africa’s rapidly increasing prevalence of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, the advances in genetic research could go a long way to providing targeted solutions,” concluded Meyersfeld.

For more information on DNAlysis and its various products, visit www.dnalysis.co.za or call +27 (0)11 268 0268.

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