Coaches Plan - 2017 Year in Review

24 Coaches plan Predictive genetic testing is a trending scientific advancement that could assist coaches and supporting sport science staff in the development of training plans and goals for their athletes. Learning more about an athlete’s genome (their genetic map) could optimize an athlete’s ability to achieve peak performance by understanding more about how they may respond to specific training and nutrition interventions. This approachmay not only impact performance outcomes, but can help identify if an athlete is at higher risk for injury or if they exhibit other traits that may impact training or nutrition adaptations. 1 There are many different (sport) genetic testing companies now popping up in the marketplace who offer easily accessible, consumer direct genetic testing, but is their information credible and are there any risks associatedwith genetic testing? We will review some of the current evidenced-based literature so that you can make the most educated decision on whether this is the right choice for you and your athlete. How they work? Genetic tests can predict an athlete’s traits by determining specific and scientifically identified genes that may impact athletic performance, nutrition, risk of injury, or other behaviours. 1 The weight, or value, of each gene is assessed for importance, as some genes have a larger contribution to athletic performance than others. 1 Some of the most common physiological traits that are related to sport performance and can be predicted by genetic testing include; muscular endurance, muscular power, strength training, risk of injury, and metabolism. 1 Thus, by understanding more about an athlete’s genome, we can potentially improve training results by tailoring training plans that can target an athlete’s area of genetic weakness/sensitivities. The same can be done with tailoring nutrition interventions. If an athlete’s genome reveals certain metabolic sensitivities or physiological traits, sports dietitians can adapt their nutrition plans to meet their specific needs, necessary for achieving desired training and performance outcomes. For example, if an athlete requires improvement in muscular endurance and thus relies on the body’s ability to supply oxygen to the muscles via red blood cells, it would be beneficial to have supporting information as to HOW that athlete may produce red blood cells since we know that essential vitamins (folate, Vitamin B12) and minerals (iron) are needed for red blood cell production and growth. Many digestive and metabolic functions rely on the body’s pool of certain enzymes. Genetic tests can help identify if they have the correct and enough of these enzymes required for metabolizing vitamins or minerals. This is particularly important when trying to optimize an athletes training adaptations, as we know that having certain sufficient nutrients supports many training interventions . 1 Predictive Genetic Testing A hit or miss for athletes? By AngelaDufour, MEd, RD, CSSD, IOCDip Sports Nutr, CFE Landon Brown, Dietetic Intern, Mount Saint Vin cent University