Food al­lergy? It might be in your DNA

Learn how your body han­dles food

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE -

More peo­ple today are com­plain­ing of some kind of food al­lergy or in­tol­er­ance. You hear of peo­ple cut­ting out bread, dairy, carbs or in­flam­ma­tory foods from their di­ets in the gut-bust­ing bat­tle.

But did you ever think food-re­lated is­sues could be down to your DNA?

Dr Nasim Ashraf, the clin­i­cal di­rec­tor at the DNA Cen­tre for In­te­gra­tive Medicine and Well­ness in Dubai, be­lieves so. “Food is truly medicine,” says Dr Ashraf. “You are what you eat.”

SO WHY DO WE HAVE SEN­SI­TIV­I­TIES?

Dr Ashraf ex­plains that food in­tol­er­ances - sen­si­tiv­i­ties - are symp­to­matic of the world we live in. We know the num­bers are in­creas­ing, but is it just more de­tec­tion? He says it’s all to do with our diet. He adds: “Yes, in­tol­er­ances have in­creased - be­yond any pre­vi­ous imag­i­na­tion. And it is be­cause in the past 50 years we are eat­ing an in­creas­ing amount of ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied [foods]. All the wheat we are eat­ing is ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied. All the foods we are eat­ing are full of an­tibi­otics and hor­mones - that’s why food in­tol­er­ances and al­ler­gies have in­creased ex­po­nen­tially. “It is all due to the con­tam­i­nated food we are eat­ing, and the en­vi­ron­ment we are liv­ing in - the pes­ti­cides and in­sec­ti­cides that are be­ing used to pro­duce the food.”

A DNA TEST FOR FOOD IN­TOL­ER­ANCES?

Peo­ple who sus­pect they have a food in­tol­er­ance can get them­selves checked out. Not just for com­fort and weight is­sues, but also be­cause hav­ing an in­flamed sys­tem can lead to myr­iad dis­eases.

DNA Cen­tre of­fers a spe­cial test, that not only tests your stan­dard 150 food in­tol­er­ances, it also tests for prone­ness to dis­eases - to help pre­vent the on­set of chronic ill­nesses in­clud­ing di­a­betes, di­ges­tive dis­or­ders and arthri­tis.

HOW IS THE TEST DONE?

The test sim­ply takes a small amount of blood and saliva which is sent away for anal­y­sis. Dr Ashraf says: “DNA test­ing will tell us about the per­son - and the pan­els we test - the 150 of them, have been spe­cially cre­ated and de­signed for peo­ple to see for ex­am­ple how they han­dle and how their body pro­cesses fat.

“It shows how peo­ple’s bod­ies can see the is­sue of weight me­tab­o­lism - whether they’re prone to burn­ing fat, or ac­cu­mu­lat­ing fat.

“But more than that, we can also see peo­ple’s prone­ness to some can­cers, to os­teoarthri­tis, for di­a­betes, di­ges­tive dis­eases, Alzheimer’s - we can gauge peo­ple’s ge­netic risks to these dis­eases.”

PRE­VEN­TION IS BET­TER THAN A CURE

To Dr Ashraf and many in mod­ern medicine, pre­ven­tion is much bet­ter than a cure. The ex­perts can help us to work out a life­style that will re­duce risk fac­tors for in­di­vid­u­als.

“Though, in say­ing this, ge­net­ics are not ev­ery­thing,” he warns. “This is sus­cep­ti­bil­ity - so you can do some­thing about it. Then ac­tion it, do some­thing about it - this branch of medicine is called epi­ge­net­ics.

“We can eval­u­ate how the genes ex­press them­selves, and then there are things we can do so the gene doesn’t re­veal it­self with the dis­ease.”

TEST YOUR DNA: Al­ler­gies or in­tol­er­ances should be checked out

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