Advice that is not based on science simply won’t work

Advice that is not based on science simply won’t work

The Optimyse Nutrition Glossary

The Optimyse Nutrition Glossary

First things first, check this short glossary to get familiar with some common terminology in nutrigenetics. Then scroll down and read how personalised nutrition can help you with optimising health including weight loss, improving your energy levels and keeping your heart healthy. Bear in mind this is not an exhaustive list of examples – further health outcomes are included in your DNA report.

I am always excited to talk about science, so if you want to learn more how nutrigenetics can help you, book a free discovery call with me.


DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid is a long molecule that contains our unique genetic code. Like a recipe book it holds the instructions for making all the proteins in our bodies.  It is built of four letters A, T, C and G, also called nucleotides.


A gene is a small section of DNA that contains the instructions for a specific molecule, usually a protein. For example, gene called FTO holds instructions to create the fat mass and obesity-associated protein, a protein present in the brain and responsible for our response to diet. We all have this gene, but different people have different versions that make their fat mass and obesity-associated protein behave or look differently. This is the case for all the genes in our DNA.

Genetic variant

Every human is unique, but if we were to look at our genes we would find that we are 99.9% the same, genetically speaking. It is the remaining 0.1% that is responsible for all the differences that make each one of us individual. Genetic variants are different versions of the same gene, responsible for these differences.

Single nucleotide polymorphism and Genotype

The most common form of genetic variants among individuals are the smallest, known as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), describing a change in a single nucleotide (letter) in the DNA. For the FTO gene, an important genetic variant is a change from letter T to letter A. Since we inherit two copies of the same gene, one from each of our parents, our FTO gene can take one of three forms or versions, TT, TA or AA. These are called Genotypes.

Nutrigenetics and personalised nutrition

Nutrigenetics explores how genetic variants affect the way we respond to different nutrients or types of exercise. It is the basis of personalised nutrition which is provision of nutrition advice based on individual unique genetic make-up.

Personalised nutrition uses individual’s unique characteristics to tailor nutrition advice and optimise health. These characteristics can be a person’s diet, food preferences, body composition, blood markers or even DNA.

Optimyse Nutrition uses different aspects of personalised nutrition to provide you with a bespoke nutrition advice.

How can personalised nutrition help you in optimising health?

Weight loss

Many of us struggle with weight loss and have tried many different weight loss diets with little success.

A gene called the Fat Mass and Obesity Associated gene (FTO) has been associated with Body Mass Index (BMI) and fat mass. People with specific genetic variants may be at an increased risk of high BMI and body fatness. Studies show that people respond differently to a high protein diet based on the FTO variants they have. A large study showed that people with variant A of this gene lost more body fat on a high protein diet compared to people with a different, variant T (Zhang et al., 2012).

In this case, knowing the FTO genotype may help us start the weight loss journey with a more tailored and effective approach.

Zhang, X., Qi, Q., Zhang, C., Smith, SR., et al., 2012. FTO genotype and 2-year change in body composition and fat distribution in response to weight-loss diets: the POUNDS LOST Trial. Diabetes 61, 3005–3011.

In your DNA report you will find out about your unique weight loss response to macronutrients such as protein or saturated fat as well as physical activity. You will also gain insight into your motivation to workout and your sleep and meal timings. As I believe that we should never compromise on the taste of food we eat, I also analyse genes that help explain your taste and food preferences and tailor my advice according to this information.

Heart health

Most of us have caffeine in some shape or form.  Coffee is one of the most consumed beverages in the world and caffeine found in coffee is present in many other beverages such as tea, cola or energy drinks. And while for some it can be beneficial for heart health, for some it can be harmful if consumed in large quantities.

A gene called Cytochrome P450 1A2 (CYP1A2) has been associated with blood pressure response to caffeine. People with a specific genetic variant C may be at an increased risk of high blood pressure if they consume more than 200 mg of caffeine per day (approximately 2 cups of instant or espresso coffee). For people with a different variant, A, coffee can be protective (Palatini et al., 2009).

In this case, knowing the CYP1A2 genotype may help us tailor caffeinated beverage recommendations to improve or maintain heart health.

Palatini, P., Ceolotto, G., Ragazzo, F. et al., 2009. CYP1A2 genotype modifies the association between coffee intake and the risk of hypertension. Journal of Hypertension, 1594–1601. 10.1097/HJH.0b013e32832ba850

In your DNA report you will find out about your glucose response to different dietary patterns as well as your blood pressure and heart health response to caffeine, salt and vitamin B2. You will also understand how you process healthy omega-3 fats which are important for our heart and brain health, recovery from exercise and overall wellbeing.

Energy levels

Leading a busy life can leave us both mentally and physically fatigued. Vitamin B12 is one of the micronutrients that plays an essential role in metabolism and energy levels.

Gene called Fucosyltransferase 2 (FUT2) has been associated with blood levels of vitamin B12 (Grarup et al., 2013). People with genetic variant T may have lower levels of this vitamin and may need to pay special attention to obtain sufficient amounts from diet or in form of a supplement.

Since vitamin B12 is found in foods of animal origin, this can be especially important for vegetarians or vegans.

In this case, knowing the FUT2 genotype helps us develop targeted dietary recommendations for vitamin B12 that may result in improved levels of this vitamin and overall energy.

Grarup, N., Sulem, P., Sandholt, CH., et al., 2013. Genetic Architecture of Vitamin B12 and Folate Levels Uncovered Applying Deeply Sequenced Large Datasets. PLOS Genetics, 9(6). 10.1371/journal.pgen.1003530

In your DNA report, you will find out if you are morning lark or a night owl, as well as your vitamin B12, iron and vitamin D levels which are very important to maintain sleep quality and energy levels throughout the day.

It is important to remember that when we talk about nutrigenetics, we are talking about probabilities. While our likelihood of having a specific condition may be increased if we have a specific genetic variant, this does not mean we will 100% have it. Our genes interact with the environment so our diet, lifestyle, and exercise regime all also play an important role.

How do I select
my genetic variants?

How do I select my genetic variants?

It’s all about science…

My approach is evidence-based and grounded in the science of nutrigenetics. When choosing genetic variants, I conduct a thorough review of scientific literature and only include nutrient-gene interactions that have been replicated in high-quality studies that are using appropriate methods of statistical analysis. I also focus on interactions between diet and genetics with explained biological mechanisms.

If you want to know more, book a free discovery call or choose one my services.

Laboratory analysis, privacy and ethics

Your samples are analysed in a certified laboratory, member of the European Global Screening Array Consortium and certified service provider for Illumina Propel.

Your privacy is of utmost importance

Read our privacy policy here to read how we handle your sample and other data.

As a Nutritionist registered with the Association for Nutrition (AfN), I adhere to the AfN Standards of Ethics, Conduct and Performance you can access here.