"I had a vision to use the power of genetics to personalize both diet and fitness, mainly because I myself had an issue where I kept putting on weight and losing weight and I wasn't really able to get control of it. It was like yo-yo dieting to get control of it," said Avi Lasarow, CEO of DNAfit.
Experts are calling it a game changer. Thousands of people are turning to DNA testing to understand their body better, whether they want to get in shape or eat healthier. Once you order a DNA kit and spit into a test tube, you'll get the results showing how your body reacts to nutrition and specific workouts.
"If you're looking at how to work out smarter, not harder. Because when you're looking at your routine, your body, you want to get the maximum benefit," said fitness expert Rhonda Murphy.
Lasarow said they have tested the science by being the first company globally to do exercise intervention research on a group of people.
"We put these individuals on a 12-week training plan, and after 12 weeks we re-measured the individuals on this test again. We found the ones genetically tested with our algorithm had three times the benefit than the ones that didn't."
These genetic tests can change your fitness plan, and they may provide a big DNA surprise for some coffee lovers. CYP1A2 is your gene for caffeine metabolism and how your body reacts to it.
Cristen Whitaker, a registered dietitian nutritionist, says that the tests can be beneficial.
"We don't have to do any more trial and error, the DNA that comes back we figure out exactly what that person needs exactly how their body works and we can tailor a plan personalized to them," Whitaker said.
People all over the world are now turning to DNA testing to get healthier.
"Why this has become such a phenomenon, in terms of DNA testing for personalization, is 10 years ago when an individual wanted to be fully genome sequenced, it would cost up to $40,000," said Lasarow. "Now what's happened, because the cost of genome sequencing has been dramatically reducing, the acceleration of research is taking place."
The tests also determine what exercises will work best for our bodies based on our genetics.
"If you're doing DNA testing, it is telling you precisely what you should be doing, what time you should be working out, what type of workout you should be doing, if it's an explosive exercise or more of a moderate longer type of workout, how intense you want to get it," said Murphy.
DNAfit is one of the companies people are using to better their bodies, and Lasarow says he has seen the results in their clients.
"We're working with the pentathlon Olympic team, we recently got the Egypt national team to the world cup, and they haven't been the to the world cup since 1992."
Once you order a DNAfit kit and spit into a test tube, you'll send it back to the lab where some of your genes will be tested. Once it's processed, you'll get the results, and the company guarantees your DNA is safe with them
"As a company, we are now one of the only consumer genetic testing that is accredited to ISO 27001, which is the international standard for data information security," said Lasarow.
Another test people are taking is called Nutrigenomix, used specifically to show the relationship between food and genetics.
Whitaker says you have to go through a Registered Dietitian to take this test. It can let you know if you are a fast or slow metabolizer to certain nutrients, that can help you be healthier and can even help you avoid heart disease and diabetes later in life.
"Understanding a person's individual metabolism is going to help build a nutrition plan that will help optimize their health and hopefully prevent some chronic disease down the road," said Whitaker.
A REPORTER'S RESULTS
A reporter took a DNA test myself through another company called FitnessGenes, and these are their results:
Coffee has never given me much energy, and now I know why. My results show that I have one copy of the fast metabolizer allele, and one copy of the slow metabolizer. That means I'm a slow metabolizer of caffeine and says my caffeine metabolism will increase if I eat broccoli or leafy vegetables.
My results also showed I have two copies of the 'fat burning' G allele. According to FitnessGenes, that means endurance-oriented workouts are best for my body if I want to burn fat.
"If you understand the reason why you have a particular diet, because your genetics tell you to have that diet, people take more control over their information and ultimately adhere more to these regimes, and they get better outcomes as a result," said Lasarow.
These DNA tests can also determine if you're lactose intolerant, or prone to injuries while working out, but experts say genetics aren't everything.
Your results are meant to be guidelines for how we can eat and exercise best for our body based on our background.