Healthy living is extremely important to me, and this year I have been taking on some pretty big challenges fitness wise. I’ve spent a lot of time getting to know my body in terms of its speed, agility, pace and the occasional aches and pains, but I often wonder to myself- do I really know how my body is functioning beyond the obvious outwardly measurable outputs? I want to grow and develop as an athlete and this needs to be supported by a combination of smart training and good nutrition. But how do I know what is right for me? There is so much conflicting information out there, different people recommending different supplements, a range of diets (some intuitive, some dangerous fads) and a constant bombardment of ever changing viewpoints. I want to make better personal decisions around training and nutrition, but I’m not up for tackling a mountain of guesswork.
My body has gone through extra changes in my life, from obese to healthy/fit which required a total overhaul of the way I value exercise and diet. I feel like the things within my control I have made an effort to take accountability towards, however our genes have an input in how we respond to diet/exercise and for me, this is a total unknown area. I was keen to try a VITL Nutrition DNA test, simply because I want to get to know myself better and make more educated choices about the way I take care of myself and how I train. I am a scientist by trade and the chance to leave the nutritional guesswork behind and explore a lab based method was a real draw.
DNA testing is a growing phenomenom within the sports/fitness industry. Our genes influence our responses to certain types of food or activities, these are predisposed factors and something independent of environmental influence- in essence our genes could hold the secrets to the optimal way to train/fuel. Previously only accessible to professional athletes, home DNA testing like the VITL Nutrition DNA test offers the average joe like me the chance to break the one size fits all mould and personally tailor my food/training choices. As someone who has battled low iron levels, anxiety and negative body image, understanding the way my body works offers me the chance to accept my predisposed genetic traits and be mindful of my health.
The VITL Nutrition DNA test is easy and straightforward to use. A simple swab of the cotton bud on the inside of your cheek, pop it in the prepaid postage bag and wave your saliva goodbye. Two weeks later I received my results in an email (although you can use an app too) informing me on areas surrounding digestion and lifestyle, fat and muscle and perhaps most importantly to me- nutrients. I didn’t expect the whole process to be this easy, and to be honest I’m kind of disappointed the test wasn’t harder to do as I could have totally geeked out in my lab coat pretending I was doing classified lab work- but oh well!
My results revealed some things that weren’t a shock to me, but some that have really provided some answers about my health and helped me open up positive conversations with my doctor. To summarise, some of the insights thrown up by my DNA Nutrition test:
In terms of digestion and lifestyle, the test highlighted I’m genetically predisposed to have digestion and IBS issues, something that has been in the back of my mind for a while now, but I have been brushing under the carpet.
For fat and muscle, my genes show I am more likely to store fat and only slightly likely to gain muscle. For me, this puts so much to rest. I work my body hard and eat well and yet never feel my physique reflects how strong I know I am. For me, having this insight has laid to rest my constant search for definition and allowed me to be kinder to my fluffier shape. I am as strong as I feel not as strong as I necessarily look.
For vitamins, the test reflected a pre disposition to have low iron levels, which prompted me (amongst other symptoms) to go back to my doctor and request a blood test. I now have the answers I need and I am on the path to managing my iron levels more intuitively. It also flagged the potential for low vitamin A levels, which can be linked to eye health. As eye problems do run in my family this is something I am now mindful of, yet hadn’t even considered before. Another surprise was the genetic disposition for low B9 (folic acid) which is an important influencer for mental and emotional health. As someone who has struggled with anxiety, I am now especially mindful to ensure I am getting enough B9 in my diet and have seen noticeable improvements in my mindset.
I am really pleased with my VITL Nutrition DNA test results and the insights it has given me. It has helped me to tailor my choices, which in turn have provided improvements in my physical and mental health. Obviously a DNA test is no replacement to a doctor, health practitioner or qualified nutritionalist, but it has helped me pursue much needed conversations with my doctor and increased the way in which I take care of myself, which is a huge positive for me.
If you would like to try your own DNA test and get to know yourself better, you can use the code BUNNYDNA online to get yourself a discount.