The secret to diet, exercise and skincare lies in your DNA

Is your beauty skin deep? Find out with Chromozoom – new DNA analysis involves quick, easy swab of your cheek to collect skins cells, targeting the genes responsible for fitness, diet and skin amongst others, with kits starting at £129

Inside all of us, billions of chromosomes – made up of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) – are spiralling away, dictating everything we do, feel, think and experience.

No wonder the idea of DNA analysis has never been more popular, whether that’s to learn about your heritage, or whether you’re likely to have certain predispositions.

For example, Olympian Greg Rutherford has used it to improve his training regime and TV presenter Sian Williams joined comedian Bill Bailey to have their DNA analysed to learn where their ancestors came from.

However, exploring specific pairs of genes (groups of DNA that sit along each chromosome) can reveal more than our potential health history.

DNA testing company Chromozoom has launched individual tests which draw on the information coded in our genes to help everyone improve their lifestyle and find their better self.

DNA testing has never been more popular, whether that’s to learn your ancestry or if you’re likely to have health issues

This is because many of our genes are dependent on their environment: they turn on or off depending on factors such as whether you smoke, live in a city, or eat too many biscuits.

Now, the cutting edge – but entirely painless – and quick Chromozoom genetic test provides a bespoke look into how each of us can make the most of ourselves when it comes to our diet, exercise and beauty regimes.

It reveals our genetic predispositions – our likelihood or risk of something such as a food allergy – and offers expert advice on how to make the best environmental changes.

So thanks to the knowledge stored in our DNA, users of Chromozoom – which costs £129 – can uncover just what the best foods to eat are for them, what fitness routine will be most effective, and how best to care for their skin. It’s like having a personal lifestyle coach whose only client is you.

What happened when I tried Chromozoom

Chromazoom DNA test healthista

Offered the chance to try Chromozoom myself, I couldn’t wait for the small kit to arrive by post.  What secrets would my DNA reveal?

Using it couldn’t be easier. You just take a swab from the inside of your cheek and send it back in the sterile packing supplied with its pre-paid postage.

Once you’ve posted your kit, your DNA analysis will be carried out with Chromozoom’s sequencing method – using the finest available technology provided by ROCHE and Illumina, leaders in the field of molecular genetics and in vitro diagnostics.

The laboratories are ISO 15189 and ISO 9001 certified – which means they have the highest levels of quality and competence.

Furthermore, the team behind Chromozoom includes a line-up of dedicated scientists including geneticists, medics, biologists (cellular and molecular) and pharmaco-geneticists, so you can be confident in the knowledge that your results are reliable.

With my own DNA sent off securely to the lab, it was time to delve deeper into what the individual body insight zones offer.

#1 Eating well: Nutri DNA Test

healthy food spread DNA test healthista

Have you – like me – ever wondered why you can’t shift the weight when your partner stays slim with ease? The answer is in our DNA, of course.

But here too lies information about likely food allergies or intolerances, plus clues to how well you store and use vitamins and minerals.

The Chromozoom NUTRI body insight zone analyses 300+ genetic markers within almost 200 genes linked to taste and nutrition to bring you a report that is unique.

In particular, you may find out if you are prone to food allergies – 80 per cent are inherited. This information is vital if you want to help protect you and your family’s health.

But your genes can also reveal where you might have a food sensitivity such as sugar or gluten. Traditionally, gluten sensitivity is so hard to analyse in a conventional way via blood tests that experts believe up to 97 per cent of cases go undetected. DNA analysis can be a much smarter way of finding out if you are at risk.

Chromazoom DNA test healthista

Lactose sensitivity – a reaction to milk-based food – can also be picked up easily via DNA analysis – did you know that while many Europeans have a gene that allows them to digest lactose (also called milk sugar), people of East Asian, West African, Arab, Jewish, Greek, or Italian descent often miss out?

Personally, I’m curious to know if I have the gene that makes me more likely to react to the histamines in red wine and good cheese – which can cause headaches, rashes and a stuffy nose.

But I’m most eager to see how my DNA affects my weight management – Chromozoom analyses 44 genes to get information about how we each process complex carbohydrates, fats and protein. Plus it gives a full report on how the body processes vitamins and minerals which means knowing which ones I need to top up.

Crucially, whatever the genes reveal about nutritional needs, Chromozoom offers expert dietitian-led advice on how to make the most of this new information so in future you can do the supermarket shop with confidence and then eat with pleasure.

#2 Fighting fit: Sport DNA Test

It never occurred to me that I could possibly (partially) blame my lack of hand-eye co-ordination on my parents rather than my own inability to listen in tennis lessons but – hurrah! – I can.

Our ability and aptitude toward different types of exercise may be a surprising area that we can explore through DNA analysis. And there are more than 132 genetic markers within 100 genes that relate to our inherent fitness and strength which can be analysed.

Some of the results explain our sporting predispositions – those inherited traits which control whether we are fast and powerful compared to average (sprinters and swimmers) or if we have a high strength potential allowing us to excel in strength sports, such as weightlifting, American football, and even boxing.

Chromozoom analysis invisible factors that affect muscle strength – including vitamin D activity, communication between muscle cells and nerves or the immune system, how trainable muscle strength is and muscle recovery after exertion.

Runners in starting blocks healthista

Marathon fans can find out if they are naturally built for endurance sports like long-distance running or cycling.

The deeper you explore your DNA, the more useful information can be found.  Chromozoom can analyse genes for how efficient your heart and lungs are, how likely you are to experience muscle fatigue and whether you are prone to building up lactic acid – the waste product which causes muscles to cramp and fatigue.

Crucially, your results will also reveal how easy or difficult you find it to recover after sport.

As with the nutritional analysis, Chromozoom reports also include lots of expert information about how to work with the results including workout tips, helpful supplements and how to prevent against soft tissue damage.

So whatever your level of sport or fitness activity, knowing how your body works best will help you reach your goals safely. That’s something to look forward to.

#3 Looking good: Beauty DNA Test

Learning that the Chromozoom Beauty analysis has what it calls a “poetic purpose” – to help clients use their DNA results as a guide to protecting and enhancing natural beauty in the simplest possible way – has been my favourite discovery so far.

There are 100+ genetic markers within more than 70 genes linked to skin, beauty and aging, says Chromozoom. So why not learn which ones can help you appear your best?

Acne sufferers will particularly appreciate the section which explains what causes breakouts – is it environment or lifestyle?

There is help too for anyone with rosacea; if you are prone to getting the ruddy patches caused by dilated capillaries on the face, this analysis can also confirm if it’s hereditary and what you can do to minimise the problem.

skin with acne healthista

DNA results can even explain why some have drier skin than others, whether you are at risk of cellulite and if you are likely to get stretchmarks in pregnancy.

More importantly, Chromozoom offers strategies on what you can do to minimize development of cellulite and stretchmarks, what nutritional ingredients to eat, and what topical ingredients to look for in your cosmetics products, all based on your particular genes.

Anyone with varicose veins would be grateful to know if their unsightly condition is due to genes or environment. Chromozoom offers differing advice depending on the results of the analysis.

Those lifestyle choices matter too when it comes to the effect of sunlight on your skin: some of us are more likely to burn, suffer hyperpigmentation, wrinkles and sun spots.

Your genes can also reveal secrets on how to make your skin look young and fresh and what the topical ingredients are that you should look for in your anti-wrinkle firming creams.

Usefully, the Beauty analysis also checks to see how well you are set up to absorb vitamins A, C and E which are all associated with good, clear skin.

Getting results

I know I have to be patient, but when my results do come, I’ll be able to access them via the Chromozoom app, which is both easy to use, private and secure – alongside all of the lifestyle advice that is offered with it.

I’m looking forward to learning how my body wants to operate, so that I can adjust my lifestyle to suit my genes rather than risk fighting them.

Does that mean I’m about to take up rugby, avoid dairy and start avoiding all sunlight? Only time – and my DNA – will tell.

Watch this space for a feature about my results….

This feature has been sponsored by Chromozoom

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