Coaches Plan - 2017 Year in Review

25 2017 | YEAR IN REVIEW Potential Advantages of Genetic Tests Here are two examples that demonstrate the advantages to knowing an athlete’s genome in order to tailor their nutrition plan are: 1. Athletes who rely on power for their sport have a higher concentration of fast twitch muscle fibre types that are dictated by an athlete’s genetics. This can infer that they may require an increased need for dietary protein for proper recovery. 1 Coaches and athletes that are at risk for soft tissue injuries may want to incorporate gelatin and Vitamin C into the athlete’s diet to help with soft tissue repair. 2 2. Genetic testingcanalsoassist indesigningmorepersonalized weight or body composition management nutrition approaches by identifying if theymay bemore susceptible to weight gain, or loss, due to their genetic ability tometabolize different types of nutrients such as fat. 1 Potential Risks of Genetic Tests To date, some potential risks with predictive genetic testing have been identified, and we will discuss two as they may relate to athletes. 1. Many countries have laws that protect individuals from genetic discrimination, unfortunately to date, Canada does not. 3 Bill S-201 (Genetic Non-Discrimination Act) is in the development phases in parliament now and is to protect Canadians from genetic discrimination. 3  Without a non- discrimination act, predictive genetic testing could be abused and used as a form of talent identification. 4 2. Since genetic testing is still in its infancy, there are a lot of unknowns about what other factors may impact genes and their effect on future health outcomes. 4 For example, scientists havepreviously identifiedgenes that areassociated with improved athletic performance to later discover that the same gene has an increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease which may affect the athlete who was tested. 4 It may be prudent to recommend genetic counselling before deciding whether or not genetic testing is right for your athlete in that particular situation, so that a more informed choice can be made. 4 Recommendations for Use Predictive genetic tests are advised to be used only to identify an athlete’s strengths and weaknesses for the purpose to help them improve training adaptations and to achieve peak performance.  4  Genetic testing is not meant to be used as a means of talent identification, or to have any athlete discriminated against due to their genome. To date, research supports that some genetic combinations are beneficial for sport performance, but it must be noted that not all of the potential genes have been discovered, and furthermore, future polymorphisms, or mutations, may have larger contributions to sport performance.  4 Finally, genetics are only one piece of the puzzle. There are many other factors that are involved with developing an athletes’potential which include, but not limited to: anthropometrics, biochemical measurements, technical skill, social, and environmental factors. Clearly there is still much more research in this innovative area of genetic testing for the purpose of tailoring athletes training programs for the enhancement of performance and recovery. The Potential of Being an Elite Athlete (Mid-Long Distance Running Example) The total number of elite male or female mid-long distance runners at any given time due to environmental, social, and genetic factors is approximately 13 males and 14 females. Genetics account for only a portion of elite athletes’ potential, but are only a small piece of the puzzle. 5 Coaching and training are required for athletes to achieve their genetic potential. The above infographic is adapted from “Olympic Genes on the Podium?” that represents the proportion of the population for each identified factor. 5 The Bottom-Line Genetic testing remains in its infancy, with a limited, but growing body of research to support and connect genetic contributions to athletic performance. Learningmore about an athlete’s genome could no doubt help tailor training programs by giving coaches valuable insight and a competitive training edge, but it is important to review the current body of evidence and make an informed choice whether genetic testing is right for you and/or your athlete in a given situation, before you invest. n References 1. Kambouris, M., Ntalouka, F., Ziogas, G., Maffuli, N. (2012). Predictive Genomics DNA Profiling for Athletic Performance. Recent Patents on DNA & Gene Sequences 6, 229-239. 2. Shaw, G., Lee-Barthel, A., Ross, M., Wang, B., Baar, K. (2017). Vitamin C-enriched gelatin supplementation before intermittent activity augments collagen synthesis. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 105, 136-143. doi: 10.3945/ajcl.116.138594 3. Senate of Canada. (2016). Bill S-201: An Act to prohibit and prevent genetic discrimination. Retrieved February 22, 2017 from 4. Williams, A., Wackerhage, H., Day, S. (2016). Genetic Testing for Sports Performance, Responses to Training and Injury Risk: Practical and Ethical Considerations. Medicine andSport Science 61, 105-119. doi: 10.1159/000445244 5. Sanchis-Gomar, F., Pareja-Galeano, H., Rodriguez-Marroyo, J., Koning, J., Lucia, A., Foster, C. (2016). Olympic Genes on the Podium? International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance 11, 973-974. doi: 10.1123/ijspp.2016-0421

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