I first met the word “bespoke” in a magazine ad for a lovely leather jacket. Although gaining in usage once again, it’s an archaic term for “custom” or “made to order.” That leather jacket could be tailored exactly to my dimensions, fitted just for me.
We understand intuitively that each of us is different in shoulders, arm length, belly, bust, and bottom, and that something manufactured en masse is highly unlikely to fit us exactly. Yet, we unfailingly grab for the next diet or exercise book, follow it to the letter, and then act surprised when a friend or coworker loses 10 pounds while we just gain another five…doing the exact same thing!
If we’re different in body shape, personality, voice, hair color, eye color, skin tone, and the hundreds or thousands of other traits that make us unique, why should we expect that one single diet or exercise plan should work for all? Sure, no diet will work if you substitute deep dish pizza for a green salad, but failure shouldn’t automatically be your fault.
Enter the science of nutrigenomics.
Nutrigenomics begins with a simple swab of the inside of your cheek to obtain a sample of your DNA, which then gets shipped off to a lab where it’s poked, tugged, and bathed in various solutions until it finally gives up and produces a detailed confession of how your genes influence just about everything. And I mean everything.
A good nutrigenomics test can identify the specific percentages of macronutrients of protein, carbohydrates, and fat for you to eat in order to best fuel your body. It can help explain body weight, mood swings, stress levels, and vitamin deficiencies. You can also gain important knowledge on how your body uniquely responds to exercise, like whether strength or endurance training is better for you.
Nutrigenomics can even help you understand the past, like why you were a chubby kid. Or why you crave sugar. Or bacon. Or sugar and bacon.
Without a doubt, though, the best part of a good nutrigenomics study is the ability to look forward, using your unique genetic code to identify simple changes in the way you cook or exercise that can make noticeable differences in weight loss and energy gain. Even your hair and skin will respond when you feed your body the fuel that, by design, it needs. Younger people can learn early on how to live their healthiest lives by eating and exercising properly, exactly how their bodies were created to be fueled and worked. Older individuals can identify risks for vitamin deficiencies and can learn how to exercise and properly supplement to avoid illness and injury down the road.
Nutrigenomic testing empowers you with DNA-based knowledge to custom-tailor your diet, fitness regimen, and supplements. Call it “bespoke health” that is perfectly fitted, so you can be perfectly fit. Like that fine leather jacket.
Shannon W. Finks, Pharm.D. is the President and Director of Clinical Pharmacy Services of ZüpMed. She is a Professor of Clinical Pharmacy at the University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy in Memphis. She has practiced and taught in private hospitals, Veterans Administration (VA) hospitals, and academic institutions in cardiovascular and other drug therapy for over 20 years. She has additional certifications in Applied Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacogenomics. Her interest in nutrigenomics began from a lifelong search for the perfect diet and a desired scientific approach to overall health and well-being.