Tailoring health and fitness plans to a person's DNA became big business last year and I'm sure DNA profiling is a luxury health trend set to continue, as more and more people begin to recognise that there's no single diet plan or 'magic bullet' to suit everyone. It seems like every day there's a new book on the supermarket shelves promising that if we just cut out a particular food group or ingredient, we will solve all of our health problems.
You've probably tried some of these things yourself - low carb, no carb, low fat, gluten free, dairy free, low sugar, etc. etc. Trouble is, without seeking expert advice first, a lot of this is just guess work. We're haphazardly cutting things out of our diet without really knowing if we, as individuals, have an intolerance or allergy, in the hope that it will completely turn our health around in the same way it has for some woman on the internet.
Last summer, I had my own DNA tested, which ruled out a genetic predisposition for a number of intolerances, including gluten, lactose and caffeine. Knowing that I had a much lower risk of having these issues, has saved me from the effort of cutting out ingredients for ages and having to slowly reintroduce them to see if I had a negative reaction to them. I've also learnt a lot more about my fitness and the types of training which suit me best. This information has not only been so useful for shaping my training plan, but is also 'freeing', in that I no longer feel bad if there's a type of exercise I completely suck at. As it turns out, explosive power based exercise like power-lifting and HIIT, is not my forte, but endurance is. This goes some way to explain why I can swim lengths for hours, walk for miles and prefer to lift heavy-ish weights for many reps, instead of lifting my absolute max load for just a few reps.
DNA tests bring back a huge amount of useful information and for any one who is not a health professional or scientist themselves, it can be really overwhelming knowing this information, but not knowing how to apply it. For this reason, if you're looking to get a DNA test yourself, it's so important to use a company who will provide you with not only detailed reports, but plain-English interpretations and practical applications. After all, what's the point of knowing all this information about your health, if you don't know what to do with it or where to begin with changing your health and fitness regime?
iamYiam, is a DNA profiling company, founded by Lorena Puica, which boasts a huge digital platform comprised of a lifestyle questionnaire to help you select an appropriate health goal, a dashboard to view your DNA results and a database of vetted health and well-being professionals who can provide advice services and support with your recommended health plan.
iamYiam's Holistic Process
A DNA testing kit can be ordered through the site for the price of £189. While you wait for the test kit to come through, you can take the 2-minute lifestyle questionnaire to help pinpoint the ideal focus for your health and fitness goals. Within 5 weeks, your DNA results will arrive and will be available through your online dashboard. You'll see lot of information about your ideal nutrition and fitness plans. There are clear recommendations in the plan, but if you need any expert advice, from say a nutritionist, a yoga instructor or even a therapist, you'll find the profiles of vetted professionals, along with their prices.
You can use all of these parts of the iamYiam website, or use each section as a standalone resource; you can take the questionnaire without purchasing a DNA kit, and you can browse the database of health professionals without doing the questionnaire or taking the DNA test.
The DNA Kit & Test
The kit is a simple tube for a saliva sample a small bag to return it in. This test can then tell you the results of testing for 21 different health traits, as listed below.
Once your DNA is analysed by the iamYiam labs, your results are then ran through an algorithm, backed by over 169,000 scientific research papers, in order to provide you with a personalised plan. This then appears on the 'Genetics' tab of your personal profile on the site.
The 2 minute questionnaire is open to anyone (you don't have to buy a DNA kit to take it) and is really useful for pinpointing your ideal health goal. So many of us go into an attempt to turn our health around, utterly convinced that it's weight loss we should be aiming for, instead of considering other factors, such as improving our sleep or working on our stress levels. Often when we focus on the real problem behind our health issues, the rest falls into place around it. For example, I know that when I make a conscious effort to relax, go to bed at a decent time, drink more water and get out for a walk each day, my mental health improves, my mood lifts and I feel less inclined to comfort eat. This then has the side effect of weight loss, even though this is never my focus.
Unsurprisingly, when I took the questionnaire, my recommended goal was to reduce stress. I can see why this is, with running around after a toddler, caring for my father (who has dementia) and growing a business. As recommended on my iamYiam profile, I've made yoga a regular part of my routine and find that a 20 minute yoga session before bed really helps me mentally wind down, stretch out the tension in my body and slow down my mind and breathing.
The Ongoing Support
This site has a wonderfully expansive database, complete with intro videos of each of the vetted professionals their prices, credentials and their location. Many of them offer sessions over Skype too, which is really convenient if you're looking for a service like cognitive behavioural therapy or a consultation with a nutritionist. You can book any service you need right there on the site, which is very convenient.
This is a resource I could have really used when I was looking for a local acupuncturist for my migraines! When you're looking for a particular treatment or service provided by a health professional, there's often so many practitioners to choose from and it's really hard to know which credentials to look for, or to compare prices and services.
I really like how transparent this service is, as often a practitioner's website will request that you call them first to find out prices, which can be really embarrassing if, like me, you have a small budget and no idea what the typical cost of a particular service is.
Overall, if DNA profiling is something you're looking into, or if you're searching for a trusted professional to guide you, the iamYiam platform is a great resource to turn to.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by iamYiam, but as always, my opinions are honest and my own.