Too much caffeine, the wrong type of exercise, deficient in omega oils or too stressed to do anything about it. How is your health? Is your lifestyle balanced? Is it time to make a few changes?
With the dawn of a new decade and trend-setting health analysis methods, I decided to put my health under the microscope using gender medicine and genetic evaluation. And where better than through a pioneering company where “healthy ageing” is the pinnacle objective. Such an approach is practised at la pura, (www.lapura.at), a dedicated resort for women, located in the healthy heartlands of rural Austria.
La pura offers innovative concepts for the prevention of specific conditions in women based on the latest findings in gender medicine, in cooperation with the Medical University of Vienna. Diagnostic testing individualises relevant ageing subjects and tackles them in a scientific way, based on epigenetics. This scientific field differentiates between the (static) genome and an epigenome, which can be altered dynamically by biological, mental and social factors. In other words, the ageing process can be influenced preventively in a timely manner and used to actively and consciously shape the path of the future. At la pura, the epigenetic risk factors of each woman are determined comprehensively using modern diagnostic methods which can individually determine a woman‘s biological age and focus on any potential weak points. There are coordinated therapies and medical treatments, including some for home application, for any weak points that are discovered. The testing covers lifestyle and mental balance, exercise and nutrition to supplementation and hormone replacement.
It is recommended that testing is done before a stay at la pura. A test kit is sent in advance. It’s quick to do, a few painless pin pricks from the fingertips for several blood samples, hygienically and safely sealed and then whizzed off to a specialist hospital laboratory in Austria.
After 3-4 weeks, the results are in. They are returned in the form of a detailed personal report, colourful graphs, medical terminology which is mind boggling at first, but becomes clear after a few reads. The report provides personal feedback in lifestyle routines, habits, exercise, anxiety levels, nutrition and metabolism. What’s more, it is designed just for you based on your own blood sample.
A one-to-one telephone call is scheduled to discuss the results in detail which takes around an hour. However, it is essential to read and digest the data first to gain some understanding of the principles of the evaluation and to grasp the meaning so as to be able to make lifestyle changes.
There are several types of tests offered, each valuable to anyone who places wellness as a top priority. I opted for the Metabolic Health Panel. This test covers three principles: nutrigenomics which includes DNA and nutrition, genes and how they are regulated, and personalised nutrition. The Metabolic Health Panel reveals your metabolic and genetic types and characters.
Nutrigenomics is the research into the interaction between genes and nutrition for long-term individual nutritional recommendations. We all express our genes in a unique way, which influences the functions of the metabolism. We differ strongly in metabolic capacities as individuals. Depending on our genetic conditions, there are significant differences in our need for macronutrients (proteins, fats, carbohydrates) and micronutrients (vitamins, nutrients, trace minerals). External factors such as the environment as well as our internal workings greatly affect the rate of influence of methylation on metabolism and other areas of our body. Our diet has a strong influence on our gene regulation (epigenetics).
Genes are sections of our DNA where the blueprint for proteins is located. Small deviations in the sequence of these main building blocks within a gene can affect the function of protein. Inherited or randomly formed, these remain for life. Epigenetics accounts for the mechanisms of gene regulation that can be influenced by environmental factors, diet, and lifestyle. With a change in one’s lifestyle (diet, exercise, and stress levels), gene activity can be increased and decreased.
Through the analysis of twenty-three gene variants (SNPs) and various epigenetic markers the test determines your metabolic type. There are four types:
Carbohydrate Type: Carbohydrates are metabolised well but there are difficulties in digesting protein and fat.
Fat Type: Fat is metabolized well, a desired weight can be achieved with the right intake and lipid composition in the diet.
Protein Type: Proteins are digested well so weight loss can be achieved with protein rich foods.
Balanced Type: All three macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins) are equally well metabolized.
SNPs are evaluated individually and contribute to your personalized nutritional recommendations. The results offer indications on how to lose or gain weight according to your individual body type. How to attain a stabilized, healthy body weight through modulation of macronutrient intake, and by incorporating specific types and durations of exercise. This forms the basis for your individual personalised nutrition.
Genetics and Exercise: Which Exercise Type Are You?
Exercise is essential for all of us. However, the type of exercise to benefit you is dependent on genetics. Endurance sports may good for some, while others are better suited to and will gain greater health benefits from strength training or a combination of both.
By assessing the variations of genes, the analysis is able to assign appropriate and effective exercise programme suited to your body type. The test evaluates how physical movement effects your body weight.
A genetic health report also can provide a prediction of your genetic risk for diabetes and obesity and provide a future lifestyle plan to avoid major problems in the short and long term.
My report has guided me in adjusting my lifestyle habits and routines. Being designated as a carbohydrate type, I am now mindful of the nutritional values of this food group, buckwheat, quinoa and rice and to the importance of including the outer shells of grains, as well as the proportion of proteins I need to include. Complex carbohydrates are absorbed more slowly, provide more energy, and contain more vitamins. The quality of fats was highlighted (linseed oil highly recommended) as was the need to increase my intake of fish oils (omega 6). My body type also benefits from fasting intervals to give time to regenerate. Water consumption needs to be topped up to two litres. If I choose to reduce weight, exercise would not do the trick, my only option is to reduce my food calorie intake. But of course, exercise is important to mind and body. Endurance & strength are my recommended exercise – so here’s to Nordic walking, biking, jogging and swimming as well as weight bearing programme at my local gym.
My lifestyle, hooray, is balanced but I am warned to watch stress levels. My analysis revealed a few dodgy genes which of course I am unable to change but through this detailed report I can help to strengthen the good genes to counteract negative effects. We are not all perfect!
Identifying your own biological make-up, understanding how your body works and the red alert signs help you to feel more in control and at one with the workings of your own body. You become more aware of external factors reacting to your own system.
I’m on track to a healthier decade. My genes defined and the tweaks to my lifestyle habits and routine slowly integrated. How about you?
The Geneometry Metabolic Health is priced at EUR 390
To find out more about metabolic testing, contact www.lapura.at