Nutrigenomics and the Future of Personalised Nutrition | Chiva-Som International Health Resorts | Sanctuaries where enrichment thrives and lives change

Nutrigenomics and the Future of Personalised Nutrition

Nutrigenomics and the Future of Personalised Nutrition

- Wellness Articles
Crusted Salmon Fillet Served with Pesto Zucchini Spaghetti

Most nutrition experts would agree that there is no single “correct” diet to fit everyone. For some, a high-protein, low-carb diet may provide lots of energy and help maintain weight, while others may thrive on high carbs and low fat. To complicate matters, it seems that every week brings a new research study or expert opinion about which diet is best! The fact that each individual may respond differently to dietary recommendations poses a challenge, and can be overwhelming when trying to decide how to eat well.

Introducing nutrigenomics

Nutrigenomics, from “nutrition” and “genomics”, is the study of the interaction between our genes and the foods we eat, and how this interaction affects our health and wellbeing. Genetic testing can reveal how efficiently each individual metabolises nutrients, as well as things like a propensity to crave sugar and sensitivity to caffeine.

For those who are trying to lose weight, nutrigenomic testing provides an individualised and optimised pathway: a diet based on your metabolic response to nutrients and your ideal ratio of carbs, proteins and fats; and an exercise regimen based on which type of exercise (aerobic or cardio) is most efficient at burning fat for you.

Nutrigenomics can also aid in the prevention of disease. With the knowledge that you are genetically predisposed to, for example, heart disease, hypertension or diabetes, you can make specific nutritional changes to your diet to lower the likelihood of the disease developing. In addition, you can incorporate foods with naturally occurring chemical agents that have a preventative effect. Future study of nutrigenomics will also help us better understand the toxicity and safety profile of our nutrient intake, whether dietary supplements we currently take are in fact helpful or unnecessary, and which foods to avoid for health and longevity.

Individualised wellness

Nutrigenomics is part of a broader shift in healthcare referred to as precision medicine, which approaches disease treatment and prevention on an individual level by taking into account a person’s genetic make-up, their environment and their lifestyle. The current ability to predict how an individual will react to specific nutrients in the diet could lead to the prescription of specific diets for everyone.

Nutrigenomics also plays a role in complementary alternative medicine, combined with traditional Ayurvedic medicines, dietary supplements and naturopathy to optimise diet and lifestyle. For example, CAM already draws on active compounds such as polyphenol from green tea, resveratrol from grape, and anthocyanin and pigments from numerous flowers, algae, fruits and vegetables for their antioxidant properties.

There’s a caveat, though, to relying solely on nutrigenomics. Genetic predisposition does not guarantee you will have an issue in the future, or that a specific diet is perfect for you. Trauma, infection and illness are a few examples of unpredictable events that may alter the body’s ability to function and disrupt the normal expression of genes. The gut microbiome is another factor that has a significant role in genetic expression, health and disease development. 

Whether nutrigenomics will be the pinnacle of personalised dietary approaches has yet to be seen. However, it is evident that health and wellbeing are influenced by an interaction between genetics, diet and lifestyle behaviours, and that the basics of nutrition still remain true. Eating a diverse, wholesome and clean diet that’s rich in plant-based foods and that satisfies your energy and nutrient requirements is still a reliable way to promote health and sustainable wellbeing.

Dr. Jason Culp, Research & Development Director, Chiva-Som

For the past decade, Dr. Culp has held the position of senior naturopathic physician at Chiva-Som in Hua Hin, where he conducts natural wellness consultations with guests. In addition to his role as naturopath, he is the founder and director of the Research & Development department, with the primary objective of evaluating and exploring the use of evidence-based natural therapies in a holistic wellness setting.

Dr. Culp lectures internationally on the topic of wellness. His philosophy is that in order to create sustainable health, guests must fully engage and play an active participatory role in their own wellness process. The empowerment of the individual and the guest’s authentic understanding of their wellness goals, intentions and motivations take precedence in health and healing. In this way, each guest leaves with the feeling that they are the most powerful advocate in their own wellness journey.

Juliana Habchi, Health & Wellness Advisor, Zulal Wellness Resort by Chiva-Som

Juliana is one of the founding members of the Zulal team. She holds a master’s degree in Human Nutrition and has worked in various research roles. As a licensed nutritionist, she has also practised in hospital settings, and consulted for both governmental and non-governmental organisations. Juliana’s broad experience spans the medical, wellness and fitness industries, allowing her to guide guests on their journeys of wellness with a truly holistic approach to diet, nutrition and lifestyle. She believes education is the key to a healthy lifestyle, and is also a sought-after guest lecturer. 

//print ''; } ?>