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Fun and Fitness: Science leads to nutrigenomics

Rick Melo | Interrobang | Sports | March 22nd, 2010



Last week I discussed the incredible 1000 Genomes Project that was announced by International Consortium several years back. In case you missed the article, basically the resulting catalogue produced by the project will be utilized to study and analyze how an individual's genetics may influence their risks for diseases. Interestingly enough, the project could also assist in a few other monumental breakthroughs.

Diet, health, and genetics are all converging under a specific science called nutrigenomics. Nutrigenomics is the extensive study of the biology of nutrition. The scientific research behind nutrigenomics seeks to find out how individual genetic variations respond to food. The nutrients we get from food alter gene expression. So different outcomes will result according to the genetic makeup of people. Supporters argue that understanding these mechanisms can help consumers make up for their inherited weaknesses or genetic flaws by eating differently.

First, the different genetic makeup of the population needs to be analyzed in terms of the responses to the various macronutrients and micronutrients. This is where our beloved crew at International Consortium come into play. Even if this project becomes successful years down the road, it will inevitably become more complicated. Food companies will need to understand their consumers in terms of metabolic groups and play an important role in sponsoring and participating in studies to link the gene variants to food chemicals.

There have been limited studies with the knowledge gained thus far that have showed positive results with nutrigenomic implementation for weight management. However, nutrigenomics is not yet a predictive tool to determine which type of diet will lead to greater weight loss. Imagine the day when tailored meals will ward of diseases. It may be years away, but as you can see, competent scientists are already on the search. They've even started selling assessment kits in supermarkets that are geared around nutrigenomics. And people say science is boring?
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