Jul 27, 2016

Nutrigenomics, the science and tech behind Aamir Khan’s jacked up ‘Dangal’ body

BYRamarko Sengupta

Aamir Khan’s ‘Dangal’ body has been the talk of the town ever since the 51-year old actor shared a picture of him holding dumbells on social media last month. The jacked up, ripped to shreds physique is for Khan’s next movie Dangal, where he plays the reel-life version of Indian wrestler Mahaveer Phogat.
This is not the first time that Khan has transformed his body for a role, but it is by far the most jaw-dropping transformation till date. For his role in Ghajini, Khan had unveiled eight-pack abs.
For Dangal, Khan used the help of nutrigenomics, which is the scientific study of the interaction of nutrition and genes, to transform into this beast-like form.
Khan worked with two-time Olympic medallist wrestler Sushil Kumar’s nutritionist Ryan Fernando to get a professional wrestler-like physique.

“When I mentioned nutrigenomics, his eyes and ears popped up. So we did Aamir Khan’s complete nutrigenomics profiling. I cannot divulge details of the report because they are confidential. But let me tell you this much, he could be an Olympic athlete himself, when we analyse all the parameters,” Bengaluru-based Fernando told FactorDaily.

Qua Nutrition’s Ryan Fernando is nutritionist to a number of athletes.

Most of our genetic make-up is not reversible but nutrigenomics finds out what the lack of something or the excess of something will bring about or how it will elicit a response in our body, said Fernando.

Fernando’s firm Qua Nutrition counts the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Harbhajan Singh, and Robin Uthappa, all three national level cricketers, among its clients.

There are only four or five laboratories in the country that do sequencing of the DNA (short for deoxyribonucleic acid, the molecule carrying genetic instructions that determine growth, functioning, and reproduction in a living organism). Genes, made up of DNA, number between 20,000 and 25,000 in a human body and testing them all can be an expensive affair.
“To test something as simple as whether you are allergic to gluten it is as low as Rs 5,000, but if you want to do the whole gamut like Aamir Khan did, it will cost you closer to about Rs 1 lakh, which would analyse everything related to food and nutrition,” said Fernando, who’s a sports nutritionist.
“What that [test] has given Mr Khan is how to balance out his anti oxidants… why he should avoid refined carbohydrates because his triglycerides and cholesterol will go up because there is a certain gene that may not be working well,” added Fernando.
If a certain gene is not working well, you eliminate foods rich in cholesterol or you give supplements, Fernando added.

Genome sequencing also determines an individual’s circadian rhythm, which tells you whether you are a morning person or a night person and nutrition is planned accordingly.

“If you are a morning lark then you need higher calories in the morning, and if you are a night owl, the first half of the day you need not eat breakfast like a king,” Fernando said.

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Ramarko Sengupta is a writer of FactorDaily.