Written by: Mirela Simic, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
In celebration of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science on February 11, we pay homage to the remarkable contributions of women in the scientific community. In this article, I will explain the meaning of personalised nutrition, which is possible thanks to the legacy of trailblazers like Dr. Ruth DeBusk. A geneticist and nutritionist known for her work in understanding the impact of nutrition on genes.
Personalised nutrition, also known as individualised or precision nutrition, is an approach to dietary planning that considers an individual's unique characteristics, such as genetics, lifestyle, health status, and personal preferences. Personalised nutrition aims to provide tailored dietary advice and recommendations specifically designed to meet an individual's nutritional needs and goals.
Unveiling genetic wisdom to further personalised nutrition
Key components of personalised nutrition include specialised functional tests. Tests such as myDNA analyse an individual's genetic makeup, providing insights into how their body metabolises nutrients, responds to certain foods, and influences their susceptibility to specific health conditions. Based on that information, we can influence our genes through a personalised nutrition approach.
Let's use Glutathione S-transferases (GSTs), which I wrote about in my Detox Mastery guide. GSTs are enzymes that play a crucial role in detoxifying various harmful substances by facilitating the conversion of toxic materials in our body, making them more water-soluble and easier to excrete. Genetic variations in GST genes can impact an individual's detoxification capacity, and some individuals may carry variants that reduce GST enzyme activity.
Other functional tests, like the OAT (Organic acid test), measure metabolic biomarkers and provide additional information about how an individual's body processes nutrients, nutrient levels, inflammation, gut health, and energy production, contributing to personalised nutrition.
By integrating these elements, personalised nutrition aims to move away from generic dietary recommendations and offer tailored plans that consider the unique characteristics of each person. This approach recognises that individuals may respond differently to the same diet due to their genetic makeup, lifestyle, and overall health status.
Recovering from fatigue with personalised nutrition
I will use two clients as examples to highlight how those tests can help people improve their health and well-being. Maria (not her real name) came to me for help as she was tired of feeling tired. She has tried different diets in the past, such as keto, paleo, clean eating and so on and tried taking supplements, but in the end, she just got more frustrated and tired!
The insights from my DNA and the OAT test guided a personalised nutrition plan strategically designed to enhance her cellular function and optimise energy production. We introduced a balanced diet in her nutrition with an abundance of sulphur-rich foods, lean proteins, fats, and low glycaemic carbohydrates, along with targeted supplements, which helped her improve her energy tremendously...she finally stopped feeling tired of being tired!
Resolving weight gain, inflammation, and food allergies with personalised nutrition
My other client, let's call her Jane, had problems with weight gain, inflammation, and food allergies. MyDNA test revealed variations in crucial genes—APOA5, ADIPOQ, and LIPC—contributing to triglyceride regulation, fat burning, and lipid metabolism. These genetic variations explained Jane's struggles with insulin resistance, energy utilisation, and, consequently, her challenges with weight management.
On top of that, her food allergies were what was further driving inflammation in her body, causing more weight gain and the feeling of being swollen.
Tailoring a personalised nutrition plan for Jane involved addressing the intricacies of her genetic makeup and removing the foods she was allergic to. We curated a dietary strategy aligned with her genetic predispositions, focusing on foods and nutrients harmonising with her unique genetic profile. Introducing targeted supplements and a meticulously crafted dietary plan empowered Jane to navigate her challenges effectively. The impact was profound—it seemed as if she had shrunk overnight! Weight management became more attainable, inflammation reduced, and food allergies were better managed.
Today, as we witness the impactful integration of personalised nutrition into health and well-being, we must recognise women's relentless dedication and ground-breaking scientific discoveries. From the early achievements of Marie Curie, Rosalind Franklin, and Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States, to the cutting-edge research of modern scientists like Dr Ruth DeBusk, has paved the way for advancements in personalised nutrition and transformative healthcare practices.
Let us extend our gratitude to these remarkable women who have dedicated their lives to scientific inquiry and progress. May their legacy inspire and pave the way for even more women in science as we strive for a future where personalised nutrition continues to evolve, bringing about better health and improved lives for countless individuals.
Here's to the women in science, past, present, and future, who continue to pioneer and pave the way for a brighter, healthier future!
Mirela Simic, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
With over a decade of experience in high-pressure jobs, moving across countries, and establishing her own PT studio, she understands the toll of a busy lifestyle on one's health. After suffering from chronic burnout, and a range of debilitating symptoms, she embarked on a journey to become a nutritionist. Specialising in helping individuals with chronic health conditions, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders, and autoimmune issues, she focuses on personalised nutrition and lifestyle adjustments to restore vitality and well-being.
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Best Nutrition Research Topics: Unveiling the Nutritional Nexus. https://www.calltutors.com/blog/nutrition-research-topics/
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Fox News. (2015, January 14). DNA may hold answers to individual dietary needs. Fox News. https://www.foxnews.com/story/dna-may-hold-answer-to-individual-dietary-needs
Mazari, A. M. A., Zhang, L., Ye, Z. W., Zhang, J., Tew, K. D., & Townsend, D. M. (2023). The Multifaceted Role of Glutathione S-Transferases in Health and Disease. Biomolecules, 13(4), 688. https://doi.org/10.3390/biom13040688
Pui Yee Tan, Soma Roy Mitra, Farahnaz Amini; Lifestyle Interventions for Weight Control Modified by Genetic Variation: A Review of the Evidence. Public Health Genomics 7 August 2019; 21 (5-6): 169–185. https://doi.org/10.1159/000499854