Introduction to Nutrigenomics for Runners
Nutrigenomics is a relatively new approach to personalised nutrition and is still in its infancy in the world of sports nutrition. So in this episode we outline the definition of Nutrigenomics and introduce you to how it is currently being explored and adapted as an approach to personalised nutrition for athletic performance
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Defining Nutrigenomics and outlining WHY it is being explored as an approach to enhance sports performance
Outlining specific nutrients and how genetics may influence how they are used by the body
Discussing the genetic variants for CAFFEINE and how they could affect and modify a runner’s response to health and their performance?
Discussing the genetic variants for IRON and how they could affect and modify a runner’s response to health and their performance?
Discussing the genetic variants for VITAMIN B12 and how they could affect and modify a runner’s response to health and their performance?
- Females tend to be at increased risk of iron deficiency due to the menstrual cycle. They are also thought to have a lower overall energy intake from food compared to males. So, if they also have the risk gene for low iron status, then their risk of iron deficiency anaemia could be further elevated.
- When going through that menopause and moving into the phase of not menstruating, there is, for some women, a period of a few months and up to a year where iron levels could be higher than normal. This would be a time when women should avoid any iron supplementation due to the risk of iron overload and toxicity, especially for women who may have the risk gene for haemochromatosis.
Looking at how to put the knowledge into practice – which tests to choose
- Nutrigenomics for runners and all athletes uses genomic technologies and genetic information to address issues important to nutrition, health, body composition and performance
- Nutrigenomics is still in its infancy when relating it to sports performance, however it would appear it is HERE TO STAY… but more research is required
- Remember our genes load the gun but our lifestyles (and environment) pull the trigger…so, even if we have an “at risk” gene it does not mean that it HAS TO BE expressed
- Genetic testing alone is not necessarily helpful, a FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE approach to care alongside other tests (blood/urine) would be far more beneficial to the athlete
- There are many nutrients that have been studied for their genetic variants, however some that are pertinent to a runner include: Caffeine, Iron and Vitamin B12
- If you are considering DNA testing to support your health and running performance, remember to use a reputable testing company. We recommend you work with a professional who is trained/certified in interpreting the test results and who can give appropriate and personalised nutrition and lifestyle recommendations.
The suggestions we make during this episode are for guidance and
advice only, and are not a substitute for medical advice or treatment.
If you have any concerns regarding your health, please contact
your healthcare professional for advice as soon as possible.
Aileen Smith and Karen Campbell met at as nutrition students (Institute for Optimum Nutrition, London) and became lifelong friends and nutritional buddies! Both have a love of running and a passion for nutrition, delicious food and healthy living.
Together they host RUNNERS HEALTH HUB. A place for like-minded runners who are looking for simple ways to support running performance, energy, endurance, and general great health.
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