How Cool is Science!
I've had an amazing opportunity to dig further into my own personal biology these past few weeks. With the help of Mel Ackerley from NexusFit, we took a close look into my own DNA makeup as it relates to wellness, nutrition and fitness. I had NO idea that you could even do a DNA test to learn about your own individual genetic make up and challenges but you can and, it reveals some super unique information. The test took only minutes to complete (via a mouth swab that gets sent away for analysis) yet the data collected is extremely extensive. When my report came back, Mel and I sat down to have an in-depth look at what it all meant and how I could apply it to my diet and training.
What I found to be so interesting about this DNA test is that it confirmed so much about what I already know about my own bodies preferences while at the same time, highlighting areas to give attention to moving forward. For example, I feel the best when eating larger amounts of fat and protein and only moderate carbs. My test confirmed this to be true. I actually need and can actually digest larger amounts of protein from most people. Complex carbs work well for me especially ones that are low GI. My body will naturally want to consume more fats so I have to be cognitive of this and as well, which type of fats work well for me. I learned that my best fats come from coconut oil, butter and MCT (saturated over mono-saturated). I also have a much higher need to consume Omega 3's than the average person (important for healing joints and ligaments etc.) I confirmed my intuition that my body can process caffeine well but that I do have to be mindful to not over consume it as my preference to consume a normal amount is poor! Right...I like coffee and I'd drink it all day long if I could :)
When it came to burning stored fats for fuel, my body does well with this. This I think has been a strength in multi day adventure racing, always being able to tap into fat in the absence of carbs. However, my body's ability to regulate its body mass index is poor (I can also confirm this to be true) as it seems to change constantly based on stress and activity level. My ability to digest dairy products is great (and hence, I have no reaction to the full fat yogurts and cheeses and cream in my coffee.) My sensitivity to gluten is low. We also looked at my ability to taste sugar as well as salt. Both low. However, the ability to regular it was average.
Mel had a good look at how vitamins are used and consumed in my body! I have some work to do in this area. B6 and B9 are extremely poorly absorbed in my body so I have to give extra focus to ensuring Im getting them in. Vitamins A, D and C were not much better. A quality supplement might be in order.
We then had a good look at my test findings in relation to fitness. I was happy that I am move geared towards endurance activities over power/spring activities. Thank-goodness!!!!! We looked at the maintenance of my tendons and ligaments and how to ensure health and longevity, we looked at my predisposition of muscle strength and tone and we looked at how well my muscles recovery from exercise.
It would take a long, long write up to talk about everything in this report. Mel nicely summarized things and sent me on my way with some very useful recommendations on my diet, supplements, meal ideas and the timing of them. When to "eat what" fascinates me and Im excited to play around more now with the macro's in my meals. Carbs, fats and proteins all have their place as we know but there are huge benefits in knowing where and when to eat what.
DNA testing really takes some of the guess work out and I will be recommending this to many of my coached athletes and friends. If we can get to know our own individual body better and be able to provide it with what it needs (and not what some random book says) than why not! Stoked to have expanded my knowledge of analysis through DNA. It is much more available than you might think! Stay updated as I put my new findings into practice!