Nutrigenomics could be the future of healthy living
What is Nutrigenomics?
Research has shown that there is not an ideal diet plan that fits everybody. Some may fit a person right but some may not. While many factors play a role in it, one of them certainly is genetics.
Nutritional genomics has two domains- nutrigenomics and nutrigenetics. Out of this, nutrigenomics uses molecular techniques to understand the role of nutrients and bioactive food compounds in altering the central dogma, affecting the expression of genes to regulate metabolic pathways and health outcomes. According to El-Sohemy, nutrigenomics is about consumer genetic testing for personalized nutrition.
Nutrigenomics is thus, a domain that with the help of genetic tests determines the relationship between health, nutrition, and genes and finds a perfect diet based on genes. According to geneticists, the study that links genomics, nutrition, and health, including the response of the body to micro-and macronutrients is called Nutrigenomics.
The method of testing is quite systematic. It includes an at-home cheek swab test and a questionnaire. This allows the practitioner to isolate approximately 80-150 genes and evaluate the health status, family history, past and current lifestyle. In some cases, if the results raise additional questions, a blood test is done as a precaution. Once your test results are back, your dietitian or another health professional will evaluate them and work with you to develop an action plan for eating.
The principle behind its concept lies in its molecular level. In this, nutrients which are the monomers or simplest units send signals that are translated into alterations in gene, metabolite, and protein expression. The application of nutrigenomics is to provide new methods to design and device appropriate diets for individuals based on genome and genetic alterations.
Nutrigenomics is an integrative nutrition approach that uses genomic testing to understand the best feeding pattern an individual can adopt. Gene variants are used to understand the response of the body to different diet plans such as the vegan diet or the keto diet for genomic tendencies for fat metabolism. Research has shown the development of various abnormalities such as Heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and mental health with genes and the first step in treatment is lifestyle changes that contain diet as its core.
The History of Nutrigenomics
The first person to establish a connection between nutrition, genetics, and phenotype was Archibald Garrod. The Human Genome Project played a major role to map out human DNA and contribute to nutrigenomics. It highlighted the necessity of precise personalized medicine and nutrition. Not all people respond equally to diet, and nutrigenomics looks at how It explains the interaction of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)with themselves or with diet, disease, and other health conditions —with diet, disease, and other health conditions.
The relationship between DNA and Nutrition is the key to developing good health
Understanding its Applications
Research-oriented towards genomics and related domains has helped scientists to decode the cellular and molecular mechanisms that govern the relationship between diet and disease. It works through genomics-based nutritional interventions. Application of this is necessary to prevent and control various chronic diseases. The study is complex and challenging because it includes multiple genes, nutritional and environmental factors.
Nutrition personalization also requires microbiomes along with genotype and phenotype to manage weight and health. The gut microbiome also depends upon genetic factors, and this determines our response to diet.
The major areas that are currently being focussed on are obesity, type 2 diabetes, and CVD. Genetic expression and gene-environment interactions regulate many cellular functions of an individual. Some major functions include appetite, calorie intake, insulin signaling, inflammation, lipid metabolism, and adipocyte genesis. This indirectly refers to the fact that a person’s body mass index and basal metabolic index are a function of the genetic makeup along with the diet. Genome-Wide Association Study (GWAS) and GIANT groups made large meta-analyses to identify that there was a variation of 2.7% in BMI to 97 loci which suggested that for more than 20% of BMI variation genetic variations existed. It examined interactions between millions of SNPs, dietary factors, and specific phenotypes based on gene-environment interactions.
The stretching of the limits of conventional research methodologies produces new ways to learn about disease prevention and wellness. It combines many disciplines and by using genomics, one can address chronic diseases related to diet and molecular responses to dietary factors. Large Scale efforts will help to prevent obesity and metabolic diseases by personalizing nutritional strategies.
Nutrigenomics has the potential to prevent and treat diet-related chronic disease by recommending nutrition based on genetics and molecular biology for a better standard of living. It has the ability to formulate and standardize nutrition to make it easy for humankind.