Nutrigenomics is the study of nutrients, diet and gene expression. The launch of Human Genome Project in 1990s led to mapping human DNA sequencing which ushered in era big science called “nutrigenomics.”
The field of nutrigenomics is still in its early stages, but there are many potential benefits to this research. Personalized nutrition could soon become a reality as we learn more about how our genes affect the foods that nourish us best and provide optimal health outcomes for each individual person.
With the recent advancements in DNA technology, it is possible to create a personalized nutritional formula for each person. This could soon become reality as we learn more about how our genes affect what foods are best suited and provide optimal health outcomes!
With the potential for nutrigenomics to change healthcare, a 2003 UK Department of Health whitepaper forecasted that with increased knowledge on genetics “treatment and lifestyle advice could then be tailored appropriately.”
The establishment of pan-national organizations such as European Nutrigenomics Organization (NUGO) and International Society for NutriGenetics have served to increase infrastructure around nutrition research.
With the global burden of nutrition-related no communicable diseases growing, nutrigenomics could help to develop more sustainable approaches for encouraging dietary change.
Although human trials are still needed in this area and there’s a need for better understanding among scientists as well. The output should have been increased efforts toward making healthy choices easier by using genetics.
How does nutrigenomics work?
While the effect of genes on a person’s physical expression is obvious, they can also respond to environmental influences – such as nutrition.
Key nutrients of note include those involved in the one-carbon cycle such as folate, choline and vitamins B2-6. One must also consider a plethora or other important players that help regulate gene expression including vitamin A but not just for its role here.
According to the latest Exipure reviews, when it comes to the health and wellbeing of our bodies, diet can make a big difference. A recent study found that diets with high Glycemic Index (GI) loads are also associated with gene expression which may contribute towards insulin resistance or diabetes type II – especially in individuals who have genes for these conditions already present.
The field of nutrigenomics is currently at an important juncture, with researchers needing to make use of advanced technologies in order for them to analyze large amounts of genetic data.
With these so-called ‘omic’ technologies: genomic, proteomic and metabolomics we can identify molecules of all kinds.
Just like the way you can’t single-handedly cause chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease; most genetic mutations that lead to these conditions don’t come from one gene. Instead they often arise through interactions between many different genes
A lot of people think it’s just our diet: what we eat (or don’t) consume will determine how big or small a risk group might be for certain illnesses – but this isn’t’ true! There are so many other factors at play here including UV radiation exposure, lack/overuse etc.
Nutrigenomics is a complicated science that has been difficult to understand. The complex human biology makes it challenging for researchers trying to develop an accurate mechanism of how dietary bioactives interact with our cells, and what the optimal intake should be in each individual nutrient for maintenance purposes remains unclear at this point.
The influence of genetics on our health is difficult to predict, with some people’s genes making them more susceptible than others. The APOE gene has three different phenotypes that may lead to CVD and respond differently depending upon diet or lifestyle factors.
What does the future hold for nutrigenomics?
While progress is being made in each of the individual ‘omics’ fields, it’s necessary to take a systems approach for future research. A recent editorial by NUGO and Genes & Nutrition stresses this point–they believe that human studies incorporating all diet interactions will lead nutrigenomic technologies down their full potential path.
In his 2017 conference talk on the topic (available in PNS), Professor Mathers noted that despite 97 genetic loci identified as contributing to fat accumulation, together these variants explain less than 3% of BMI variance.
While both genes and diet can help to some degree, it is clear that the environment plays an equally important role in determining whether someone will develop a condition. The expression of these traits relies on how each individual interacts with their surroundings as well!
What are the effects of personalized nutrition on an individual’s diet and lifestyle? The recent EU-funded multi center Food4Me trial attempted to answer some of these questions.
The idea of personalized nutrition is still new and evolving, but the trial suggested that customized approaches can offer bigger health gains than adhering to standard dietary guidelines.
There’s not much difference between a personalized nutrition approach that relies on counseling and one which uses genotypic information, but the latter is more effective.
When it comes to personalized nutrition and nutrigenomics, we’re not quite at the point where routine public healthcare covers these things yet. A 2012 survey found that while 80% of Greek doctors were willing to recommend a patients’ diets based on their own genetic makeup (as opposed to something like Food4Me, only 17 percent had actually done so in reality!
The future of nutrigenomics research is going to be incredibly informative. As more and more bioinformaticians join together with nutritionists, epidemiologists, Exipure scientists (a company dedicated towards developing new food products), molecular biologists/geneticists – all intent on discovering how nutrients interact within our bodies or what DNA sequences code for certain enzymes that help us digest foods–we’re bound make some major breakthroughs.