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Jan 30, 2019

What is Nutritional Genomics?

What is Nutritional Genomics?

Nutritional genomics is the study of nutrition and its relationship with the genome.

Since the completion of the human genome project in April 2003, research projects into the effects of diet on the genome have grown exponentially. Nutrition intake is both affected by, and affects, a  person’s genes. The ability of the body to take in nutrition, use nutrition effectively, and burn energy in an optimal way can vary greatly between individuals. Conversely, the nutrition given to a body can affect the way the genes are expressed, leading to phenotype changes. Studying the DNA of an individual can therefore be used to generate a personalized dietary plan.

Nutritional genomics in medicine

Lactose intolerance is caused by the reduced function of a gene that codes for the enzyme lactase. This enzyme breaks down the disaccharide sugar lactose, present in milk and other dairy products. Thus, intolerant patients must stay away from dairy products.

A syndrome called Phenylketonuria is also managed through diet. PKA is caused by mutation in gene that codes for phenylalanine hydroxylase, an enzyme that breaks down amino acid phenylalanine. People suffering from this syndrome are prescribed a low protein diet, which helps to avoid serious long-term consequences, such as seizures.

Genes, nutrition and risk factors

Reducing disease risk

In certain individuals, diet can be a major risk factor for a number of diseases, such as type-2 diabetes or cardiovascular diseases. For example, methionine is an important amino acid in various metabolic processes in the body created by the activity of an enzyme on folate (vitamin B9). A mutation in the gene that creates this enzyme leads to less production of methionine, causing an increased risk of vascular disease. A diet high in folate can help to alleviate this risk….

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Source: News Medical


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