Questions over DNA tests sold for nutritional advice


Every time Rebecca Castle sat down to eat her favorite foods, she says she suffered excruciating abdominal pain.

“I cut out carbs. I wasn’t eating dairy,” she said. Nevertheless, she experienced sharp, shooting pain, bloating and distention for more than two years.

Castle saw multiple doctors. Then she spent several hundred dollars to take a DNA metabolic test.

What she learned? “I was allergic to starch,” she said. “That’s mostly root vegetables, corn, peas, sweet potatoes.”

Nutritionist Nicci Schock says a typical client for such a DNA test is an athlete looking to improve performance. “And then folks like Rebecca, they know their body and they know something is off.”


Proponents of metabolic tests say dietary recommendations are based on a patient’s genetic profile.


Ahmed El-Sohemy, the chief science officer at Nutrigenomix, said, “Even though it’s a genetic test, it’s effectively dietary advice and counseling an individual on how to eat better.

“Individual genetic differences can help us understand why some people respond differently from others.”

Nutrigenomix markets a DNA test that looks at 45 genetic markers. The company makes recommendations based…

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