Personalize Diet, Nutrition and Exercise with Genomics

Dr Bright McConnell
of FitMed Partners has always taken a custom approach to diet and exercise. Now, with genetic testing, he is able to take personalized health planning and disease prevention to a whole new level. Dr McConnell is one of the first physicians in Charleston to offer genetic testing to help his patients personalize their diet, nutrition and exercise as a way to increase wellness and to motivate positive change for health.

“This is a unique and scientific tool to help our medical team understand how your genes influence your body’s response to diet, nutrition and exercise,” says Dr. McConnell, a board certified orthopedic surgeon with subspecialty expertise in sports medicine, human performance, and age management medicine.

With this new service, patients perform a simple saliva test, which is sent for genomic testing. The testing facility analyzes over 100 genetic markers that have been shown to impact metabolism, exercise and energy use within the human body, and returns the results to FitMed within three weeks. Your genetic report gives you the power to understand your metabolism, eating behavior and your response to exercise, as well as the best ways to reach and maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.

The results are incredibly specific. Your genetic profile details everything from your metabolic response to refined carbohydrates or fats, to tips on alternative cooking techniques based on your specific taste receptors (you may find leafy vegetables more bitter than the next person). The test may find that your genes cause you to feel more hungry throughout the day, or that you have a higher than average risk for elevated LDL cholesterol. You may learn that you have a genetic variant associated with low levels of certain vitamins or benefit more from endurance exercise versus weight resistance.

Dr McConnell can explain how best to use the information in your report to make the necessary changes in your lifestyle to finally achieve the health you want. Use your genetic profile to take action. These results can empower a patient to finally end a defeating cycle of weight loss and gain. FitMed Partners will provide you with personalized information and recommendations to assist you in:

Think a gym card is a better investment? McConnell says, “Research has shown people who follow a diet appropriate for their genotypes lose 2.5 times the weight, compared to those who do not follow an appropriate genetic diet.” He cites a 2010 Stanford University and Interleukin Genetics study, where individuals on genotype-appropriate diets lost 5.3% of body weight compared to individuals on diets not matched to their genotype, who experienced only 2.3% weight loss.

“People want to know why their neighbor or coworker loses 10-lbs trying South Beach, when they only lost five. Or why they can’t stick with a certain diet or certain foods for long enough to make a difference,” explained Dr McConnell. “Look at your history. How many diets have you tried? How much weight have you lost and re-gained? Do you have a family history of disease? Your genes can tell you why.

Genetics accounts for 40% to 70% of a person’s predisposition to obesity. A big part of those genetic issues have to do with behavioral traits. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explain that genetics can influence the way people “capture, store, and release energy from food.” For example, your genes might give you a stronger desire to eat too much, or they might make it difficult to know when you have eaten enough. Your genes might give you low energy levels and make you dislike exercise. Some people’s bodies struggle to burn fat, and others’ bodies store fat more easily than average.

FitMed can prescribe a genetically-based program to start you on the right track to wellness, including accountability agreements, diet and exercise recommendations, and personal wellness programs. If you follow a personalized program based on your genes, you finally have a chance to make a sustainable and positive change in your overall health and well-being. Call FitMed today to learn more, at (843) 284-5720.

What will my genomic profile tell me?
By analyzing your genetic code, along with answers to a lifestyle questionnaire, FitMed can give you the power to understand your metabolism, eating behaviors, and your response to exercise, as well as the best ways to reach and maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.

Personalize your diet with genetics. The way we eat, how our bodies process foods, and our overall health are impacted by our genetics. Scientific studies have shown that the consumption of particular nutrients may turn certain genes on or off. Diet results are calculated to help select the best diet for you.

Eating behaviors can have as much effect on health as our diet. Some of our behaviors are influenced by our genetics. The report describes certain genetic markers that are associated with eating behaviors, such as excessive snacking and difficulty feeling full. With this information, you and your FitMed team can modify your lifestyle to achieve ultimate wellness.

Your genetics may impact how your body responds to some foods. We report on genetic markers associated with caffeine metabolism, bitter and sweet taste sensitivity, as well as lactose intolerance and alcohol flush.

Vitamins are an important part of your health. The report includes genetic markers associated with your likelihood of having lower levels of certain vitamins, such as folate and vitamins A, B-6, B-12, D and E.

Exercise has long been shown to provide many health benefits. Your genes can affect how you respond to exercise – your chances of losing weight, improving your cholesterol levels, and other health benefits. We can give you information on how your genetics may influence your exercise performance.

Your weight can be influenced by many genes. The report includes genetic markers associated with metabolism, the tendency to regain weight after losing weight, as well as predisposition for obesity.

Good metabolic health can prevent serious health conditions. Your report includes genetic markers that are used to calculate your likelihood for having decreased HDL (good) cholesterol levels, as well as elevated LDL (bad) cholesterol, blood sugar and triglyceride levels. All of these are indicators of adverse metabolic health, which are precursors to various health conditions, including coronary artery disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.
How difficult is genetic testing?
Start to finish, the testing process takes about three to four weeks.
Step 1. Ask your Doctor
Step 2. FitMed activates your kit
Step 3. Fill saliva tube
Step 4. Send it back
Step 5. FitMed gets your results

Are my genes my destiny, or do things like diet and exercise really make a difference?
Your genetic profile may show increased risk for a particular health condition. However, being at risk does not mean you will contract it. Lifestyle factors such as a healthy diet and regular exercise are well documented to lower risk for many conditions such as high blood pressure. On the other hand, lifestyle factors such as tobacco smoking have been shown to increase one’s risk of developing cancer and heart disease. In addition, early detection has been shown to increase the likelihood of successful treatment for many health conditions. If your genetic profile shows an increased predisposition for developing a condition, we recommend you discuss preventive and early detection options with Dr McConnell or your regular physician.

Will my insurance cover genetic testing?
Probably not, but it may be worth checking with your insurance carrier to see. Although current laws protect patients from discrimination, many patients choose not to involve insurance since this field is new and evolving.

Who is assessing my genetic profile?
Pathway Genomics operates a Federally CLIA certified and California state licensed facility. The Pathway Fit genetic profile was developed with input from medical and scientific experts from Harvard University, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, Scripps Clinic, UC Berkeley, UCLA, UCSD, and the Veterans’ Affairs (VA) Medical Center. Once Pathway receives your saliva sample, the confidentiality of your DNA is protected in the company’s proprietary DNA Lockbox™.