Under this collaboration, Imagene’s mySNP Nutrition test kits are made available at Elite Spine Centre’s office, where patients can pay to use them.
After providing their saliva samples, Imagene Labs collects the kits, conducts genetic testing at their own labs, and sends the reports back to Elite Spine Centres, where the patients will discuss their reports with the in-house practitioners, and given nutritional and lifestyle advice.
The key feature of these tests are single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP), the most common type of genetic variation,
Elite Spine Centres’ Dr Michael Bryant told NutraIngredients-Asia: “We’re a B2B affiliate of Imagene Labs, and the types of genetic tests we offer patients through them are centred around nutrition and fitness.
“Depending on what the consumer is interested in, there are certain genes the tests identify that have a propensity to influence different traits.”
Connecting the dots
He added that it was important for patients to know that though their reports may reveal their propensity for certain conditions, they may not necessarily develop those conditions.
He said, “There are also epigenetic factors to consider, which can sometimes be much more influential than the genetics themselves.”
The service is also a way for patients to connect the dots between their spinal health and genetic factors, so they can better understand why they may be experiencing certain pains, or responding to treatments in a particular way.
“It gives them a roadmap to understand more about their body — why they may respond to certain treatments the way they do, and why they may be low in certain nutrients.
“For people looking to take some basic supplements, it at least gives them a more bespoke or customised guide based on their genetic results..
“If we know what nutritional deficiencies they have when we treat them, we can advise them on not just what is causing their pain or why they’re not recovering as quickly as they expect, but what they need nutritionally to improve it.”
Patients who want to learn more can get blood tests done for more detailed results, which will allow them to consider functional nutrition to deal with specific health issues.
On the other hand, Imagene Labs is also developing a ‘light’ version of its genetic tests, which will still employ genetic testing, but on a smaller variety of genes.
Bryant said, “It’s a little more generic, but still offers a starting point that may lead them to go for more detailed tests afterwards.
“Everyone has SNPs in different amounts and in different genes, and this can be part of the reason why two people may respond differently to an off-the-shelf supplement.
Beyond the physical
Regarding the importance of detecting nutritional deficiencies in chiropractic care, he said, “We often focus on physical stress, which is something chiropractic care deals with — joint pains, back pains, sitting postures and related issues.
“But we often ignore other factors. When people have, say, back pain, we look at the physical stress but we don’t look at chemical stress, which can stem from a lack of certain nutrients, or even nutritional deficiencies.
“Conversely, it could be a by-product of certain medications they’re taking, for instance. It does impact the way patients respond to different treatments. Two people of the same age, with the same pain, and with X-rays that look the same, may respond differently to the same treatment.
“For instance, excessive sugars or simple carbohydrates can lead to inflammation in the body, so if we treat someone for a nerve symptom or condition whose body is inflammatory because he eats simple carbohydrates every day, he won’t recover as quickly as someone else with a better diet.”
In terms of specific nutritional deficiencies, some of the more common cases he has encountered involve B vitamin deficiencies, which contribute to nerve-related issues.
Other patients lack magnesium or electrolytes, which can cause high muscle tension and muscle cramping. In such cases, the solution could be as simple as hydration and electrolyte replenishment.
However, for those suffering from severe nutritional deficiencies, Bryant said the standard practice was to refer them to a dedicated nutritionist.
Another common health problem in Asia was iron deficiency, typically caused by stress and, for women, heavy menstruation.
To deal with these issues, Bryant espoused a greater emphasis on diet instead of on vitamins and supplements: “It’s not one particular vitamin or nutrient that’s missing from many people — it’s really a lack of a balanced diet.
“I think we should bring about some simple awareness about the differences between simple and complex carbohydrates, and the importance vegetables and phytonutrients, for example.”