Recent developments in genetics and nutrition science are about to bring great changes to how we can understand and improve our daily lives, performance, health and happiness. We talked to Christian Mueller, Ambronite R&D advisor (and M.D. at the University of Erlangen, Dept. of Medicine) who works at the University's Human Genetic Institute. Along with his research and regular doctor-patient consultations, he's able to find time for rock climbing and occasional travel as well.
Combining science and passion
As part of my doctoral research, I look at the impact of genetics in medicine. The passion for genetics came from my personal interest in health. I have always been keen to find different ways to improve and optimize my health and my performance, be it in sports, work or study. Then, my scientific curiosity took over – I wanted to dig deeper and understand the role of the different underlying biological mechanisms.
Towards greater self-awareness
It’s quite a paradox, but med students often do not lead a healthy lifestyle. Many of them don’t eat healthy - a coffee-spaghetti diet is quite common, unfortunately. Of course, every med student is aware that daily nutrition has an impact on the body, but not everyone realizes that on a personal level. So I wanted to solve my own dilemma and started to look at how I could improve my day-to-day nutrition.
Healthy food habits
I always suggest that people do their own due diligence and make more informed decisions based on solid evidence on what to consume. After spending a bit more time on actively choosing the right food you eat, you certainly will notice changes in the way you feel and perform.
Genetics and lifestyle choices
One of the major strengths of our body is that it is adaptive to our environment. That said, our body is also adaptive to what gets inside, but only to a certain extent.
Because of the differences in our genetic code, we also have differences in our nutritional needs. If you want to exploit your full potential you need to go one step further and start customizing your own diet, instead of following a “one size fits all” diet plan. That’s why the concepts of personalized nutrition or nutrigenomics are picking up.
There’s hard scientific evidence that while the foods you're consuming are not directly altering your genetic make-up, they do change the regulation mechanism of your genome, which tells what genes might be switched on or off, called epigenetics. Certainly there are lots of other factors that influence epigenetic mechanisms. Exercise is one of them. In fact, regular exercise can alter the expression of a multitude of different genes in your body. There are many positive changes that happen once you get physically active.
So really, we get back to basics – eat clean and healthy, and exercise.
I use Ambronite every time I know I’ll have a busy day. I just throw a few meals in my backpack and have the certainty to get quality food when I'm taking a break.
I first came across Ambronite when I was doing research on liquid nutrition for elderly patients. There are liquid food alternatives produced by large pharmaceutical corporations. However, they are mainly based on synthetic ingredients. These products are not necessarily bad, as they work perfectly fine in treating malnutrition, dehydration, low blood sugar, electrolyte imbalances and micronutrient deficiencies. However, I was looking for a product with a more holistic approach, as real food can work on a known deficiency AND cover nutritional needs which have not been discovered or described as being essential to the human body yet by the scientific community.