Molecular You: What you need to know about the Sport Medicine Clinic's new program
Katelyn Sander

Molecular You: What you need to know about the Sport Medicine Clinic's new program

Every year we make lofty goals. We resolve to lose weight, eat less sugar, or exercise more. More often than not, we fail to keep our resolutions. Often our goals are simply too broad or too unattainable and, by March, we’re left questioning whether we really have it in us to achieve them. From there, it’s easy to rationalize dropping and forgetting your goals.

What if we set our goals based on the scientific evidence of our body’s needs instead? What if we checked our biochemistry to see what was out of whack and needed fixing first? Wouldn’t there be more incentive to stick to our goals if we knew that we could improve our performance, address a nutritional deficiency, or mitigate specific risks?

What is a personalized nutrition and fitness assessment?

Personalized nutrition and fitness assessments look at a diverse range of blood markers to give insights into your current health, inherited risks, and early warning signs. It brings together metabolites, proteins, nutrients, toxins, and genetics to give a dynamic, integrated view of your health. The real value is the translation of this biomarker data into specific recommendations to optimize your health. This takes the form of a personalized nutrition and fitness plan and a tracker app to monitor your progress.

Is this the same as genetic testing?

In short, no. We assume you’ve heard of 23andMe genetic testing. The market is now crowded with products offering insights into athletic potential or nutritional needs based purely on genetic data. What many do not realize is that genetic testing can only tell you about your inherited risks and traits; it cannot tell you about your current state of health, only biomarker testing can do that.

What is personalized nutrition?

To understand your current dietary needs, and whether you would benefit from any supplements, you need to look at the whole picture. Your metabolites, proteins, nutrients, genetics, current dietary intake, and any health conditions. Personalized nutrition takes an integrated view of your current health profile, any nutritional deficiencies or excessive levels of vitamins or minerals, and results in an individual nutrition and supplement plan based on your needs.

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“With this assessment, we are able to identify nutritional deficiencies and metabolic imbalances, and assess if your diet and exercise regime are optimal for you. Based on these results, we create a plan unique to you and your goals: whether it be improving athletic performance, overall health or preventing disease in future.” – Melissa Cugliari

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What can biomarker testing reveal about your exercise regime?

Through in-depth analysis of the amino acids, proteins, and metabolites in your blood, biomarker testing can show the effects of your current exercise regime. Other blood markers will reflect the level of training achieved over the long term (long term adaptation). Based on your results, there may be recommendations for changes in intensity, the relative mix of aerobic vs strength, duration or time of day for training. Testing may also identify overtraining or pinpoint underlying factors contributing to injuries or inflammation.

How can biomarker testing improve your athletic performance?

One area where people vary considerably is their ability to switch between fats and sugar (glucose) efficiently, for energy use. This is known as fuel utilization or metabolic flexibility. We can improve our metabolic flexibility with specific exercise recommendations.

Some people are unable to use fats efficiently. This means that endurance exercise such as marathon running, may be more challenging. These people might be advised to avoid high glycemic foods or to exercise in a fasted state.

Some people cannot use sugar efficiently. This means that explosive or high intensity exercise will suffer. These people might be advised to eat at least 2 hours before exercise and to train in intervals that periodically reach above 80% intensity.

Competitive cyclists are an example of a group that practice fasted training to improve their fat burning capabilities. In doing so, they build up their glucose stores. This means that their bodies will primarily use fats for energy during training. As a result, when they race, or go over an 80% intensity level, their bodies will have more glucose available to switch to as an energy source when needed.

How does this translate into personal goals and resolutions?

Data can be overwhelming unless it is translated into insights and specific recommendations. Personalized health assessments turn biomarker results into detailed personal nutrition and fitness plans. There may be nutritional deficiencies to address, health risks that can be mitigated through diet or exercise, or insights for taking your health and fitness to the next level. Goals can be hard to stick to when there is no measurable impact. Having a date set for a re-test can offer that motivation and tangible results.

Make sure your goals are based on science this year

Before you get too far into the year, consider finding out what actually needs fixing in your body. It will be a lot easier to stick to your goals if you know that you are addressing specific nutritional and athletic requirements.

Find out more about Molecular You health assessments here. If you have any questions about this new program, please contact Dr. Melissa Cugliari.

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