Nutrition and Sport Performance - 5 Key Areas at a DNA Level

Giving athletes tailored dietary and other performance-related information based on their genetic makeup is part of a growing new field. Genetics play a critical role in determining how athletes respond to foods, nutrients and supplements, as demonstrated by recent research in the emerging field of “nutrigenomics” – the science that seeks to explain how genetic variation alters our response to diet, which impacts general health and athletic performance.

The following areas can be tested at The Clinic with our DNA Sports Analaysis


Globally caffeine is the most widely consumed stimulant with many athletes having it to enhance training and performance. Research on the impact of caffeine on cardiovascular health and athletic performance gives varied results. Research showed that fast metabolisers of caffeine saw significant improvements in endurance after having caffeine compared to taking a placebo. Slow metabolisers however experienced no benefit, often performing worse compared to their placebo endurance test. They are also at higher risk of heart attacks and high blood pressure when consuming more than 200 mg of caffeine (2 small cups of coffee or 3-4 cups of tea) per day.

Vitamin D

Having enough vitamin D is really important especially when exercising. It increases bone mineral density, reduces the risk of stress fractures, and could also play an important role in heart health, immune function, muscle recovery and muscle building during intense training.


Iron is a mineral which we need to help our bodies form red blood cells to transport oxygen in the body. Low iron stores can lead to anaemia which is associated with fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, dizziness and reduced aerobic capacity. Low iron levels can therefore lead to poor performance.


Lactose is a naturally occurring sugar found in dairy products which is broken down by the enzyme lactase to be properly digested. Those who do not produce any, or enough lactase, so the lactose passes through the intestines undigested can lead to unpleasant side effects including bloating, cramps and diarrhoea.

Individuals who consume a lactose-free diet are at a greater risk of inadequate calcium and vitamin D, both of which are important for building and maintaining strong bones and teeth, and reducing the risk of low bone density and stress fractures that often occur in athletes.

Optimal levels of calcium and vitamin D can still be achieved through fortified milk alternatives such as soy, almond, and rice beverages but make sure you check the label to confirm that you’re choosing products that include them.

Physical performance

The report also includes tailored information on fitness and physical activity, allowing us to make some insights about the risk of injury and other indicators of physical performance.  

A high pain tolerance result is common with professional sports individuals. Pain is triggered by the nervous system and their are substantial differences in the degree to which people feel pain, a high tolerance to pain can give the individual an advantage to train hard and push themesleves to be one of the elite in their chosen sport. 

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