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article imageDNA analysis helps athletes to improve performance

By Tim Sandle     Apr 19, 2016 in Health
Manchester - Studying DNA can assist people with their personal fitness targets and with athletes to achieve their training goals. The approach forms part of a new science study.
Research carried out at the University of Central Lancashire looked at the performance of several athletes and sports players. In total 28 sports people and 39 soccer (football) players were studied over a two-month period. In trials, using the genetic information and tailoring personal programs, led to reportedly significant increases in physical performance.
The technology has been commercialized as ‘DNAFit.’ The process involves screening for gene variants that are connected with how the body responds to levels of nutrition and in relation to exercises (such as those associated with training.) This epigenetic information is revealed through a swab test, whereby users take a swab of their mouth and send the results to an analytical testing laboratory.
Once the genetic information has been processed, the results are interpreted by a computer which uses special algorithms to interpret the collected information. Each finding is based on an individual’s genetic profile.
Researchers use the collected information to assess a person’s potential for development of power or endurance qualities. Such information can inform the person which is the best training regime for them. For example, whether the individual will respond better to high or low intensity resistance training.
Advice can also be given in relation to nutrition. This can relate to the appropriate levels of carbohydrates, alcohol, salt and saturated fats that need to be taken in daily.
Based on the apparent success of the study, the British Olympic long jump champion Greg Rutherford is going to continue working with the data as part of his preparations for the Rio Olympics. Rutherford is one of the contenders for a gold medal. Some Premier League clubs have also taken on the technology.
Give the various scandals associated with drug doping across most sports, turning to a greater understanding of the body’s biochemical and physical state could provide the means by which many athletes seek to improve their performance. Such technology can also be used to help the serious amateur fitness fan.
The study results are published in the journal Biology of Sport. The research is titled “Sports genetics: the PPARA gene and athletes’ high ability in endurance sports. A systematic review and meta-analysis.”
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