[Editor’s note: Carrie Dennett, MPH, RDN, CD, is the nutrition columnist for The Seattle Times and speaks frequently on nutrition-related topics]
Nutrigenomics and nutrigenetics fall under the umbrella of nutritional genomics—so what’s the difference between the two? Both study how individual genetic makeup contributes to observed differences in response to diet and how that gene-diet interaction contributes to predisposition to disease. Nutrigenomics goes deeper, using molecular tools to identify how nutrients and bioactive food compounds alter the DNA transcription and translation process, affecting the expression of genes that regulate critical metabolic pathways, which may ultimately affect health outcomes.
CVD, type 2 diabetes, and obesity are major public health focus areas. Accordingly, they’re also points of focus for nutrigenomic research. Many cellular functions related to energy balance are regulated by gene expression and gene-environment interactions. Genetic variation may affect appetite, calorie intake, and macronutrient preference as well as insulin signaling, inflammation, adipogenesis (the formation of fat cells), and lipid metabolism This means that the individual variation seen in body weight and composition likely is influenced by genetic makeup as well as diet and activity patterns.
As technology improves, large meta-analyses are making it possible to examine the interactions between millions of SNPs, dietary factors, and specific phenotypes
The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: The Future of Nutrigenomics