Fed up with diet and workout plans that do nothing for you? Wouldn't it be nice if you knew exactly what your body needed to reach an optimal level of fitness and health? If you're willing to shell out about $500, you may be able to.
They say everyone is unique, and science has proved that with the almost magical nature of deoxyribonucleic acid — better known as DNA. It is the hereditary material in humans and almost all other organisms. Studying someone's DNA can reveal a person's hereditary information across generations; it can identify genes that are prone to certain diseases; it can even solve crimes. Why wouldn't it be able to tell you what exercise is best for you?
Scientists and doctors are learning that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to health care. Just as your DNA is unique to you, so are your fitness and nutritional needs.
Several companies are kicking the concept of personalized health care up a notch by offering DNA testing that they claim will be able to determine the best way to train based on your unique genetic makeup. Collect your cheek cells with a swab provided by the company, and ship the sample back to them and you could find out such information as your body’s injury risk, whether your body performs better with strength or endurance training, the duration of and frequency of an exercise they recommend for you, and how fast will your body recover from a workout.
In addition to exercise, you could find out what exactly you need to reach your goals. Simplified Genetics, a direct-to-consumer gentetic testing company based in Dallas, says they could provide information ranging from the daily percentages of fats, carbohydrates and proteins specific to your body’s needs, and even provide a sample menu.
You may also be able to find out which supplements you should take based on deficiencies in your body.
Be warned that these tests are not regulated by any organization, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In fact, the FDA has been very active trying to stop direct-to-consumer testing until they gather more evidence that this testing is accurate. Popular DNA-testing company 23andMe was ordered by the FDA to halt their $99 health-related genetic reports on the grounds that the tests were “unreliable.”
If you are willing to spend the money on some insight into your genetic makeup and how it relates to your fitness and nutrition — and accept the possiblity that the analysis may not be accurate — go for it. After all, with the right balance of training and nutrition, you could be the next LeBron James.