Personalizing diet – an interview with pharmacist Elaine

Written by Jia Yi Lee
Posted on August 1, 2019

After listening to Hidayah on her test about skin traits report, we had an interview with Elaine. Elaine is a pharmacist who did a DNA test for nutrition and diet traits with us. Here is what she thinks about the DNA test and how it can help to improve our health and dietary habits. 

Give a brief introduction about yourself and your job.

My name is Elaine Chai. I am soon to be 32 years old. This is my 8th year practice in the pharmacy field.  I am a registered pharmacist who began my pharmacy career in Hospital Ampang upon graduating from UCSI University in 2011. In 2014, I have decided to continue my service in retail pharmacy. Currently, I am working in Tigas Alliance Pharmacy.

Which part of your DNA test results surprised you the most?

I am most surprised by my slightly high genetic risk of impaired caffeine metabolism as  I am a coffeeholic. However, sometimes I experience dizziness and upset stomach. Perhaps I would have to cut down my coffee intake to reduce these symptoms.

You often counsel your customers about nutrition and diet. What have you learned from your DNA test results that enabled you to make better choices in nutrition and diet? 

It is vital to know what you really need and understand your nutrient sensitivities as well as deficiencies in order to individualize your dietary plans and eating habits. From the DNA test results, I have gained the  idea about what type of foods I should consume more due to my genetic risks of deficiency. I would also need to cut down my daily consumption of coffee due to my higher risk of impaired caffeine metabolism.

Is there an issue about the dietary habits of Malaysians? Would you see DNA test to play a role in educating the public about healthy eating? 

Most Malaysians have the habit of overeating unhealthy foods. This leads to an increased rate of chronic diseases in Malaysia. Actually, the awareness of the need for healthy eating a healthy lifestyle do exist among Malaysians. However, there is a lack of practice for them to bring about changes in their lives. This DNA test provides solid evidence that adapting particular dietary habits based on your genetic profile will help you achieve a slimmer and healthier body and a happier lifestyle. Besides, the public might be more likely to follow dietary recommendations when they know their genetic profile.

Has your DNA test results led you to make changes in your lifestyle?

Yes. I am trying my best to cut down on processed food and refined sugar in my diet, as these foods could cause unhealthy weight gain and increase the risk of chronic diseases. I shall try to replace my usual chips and cookies with healthier snacks . With reference to the genetic risk of nutrition and vitamin deficiencies , I can now properly plan to manage my food and nutrient intake. This will help me to achieve my health goals.

The DNA test for nutrition and diet traits is currently available under our DNA Explorer Essential and DNA Explorer Health 360 packages. Do visit our website to find out more! 

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