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Nutrigenomics, health’s new ally

“NUTRIGENOMICS IS THE STUDY OF MOLECULAR RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN NUTRITION AND THE RESPONSE OF GENES, WITH THE AIM OF UNDERSTANDING HOW SUCH SUBTLE CHANGES CAN AFFECT HUMAN HEALTH.”

Chavez A, Munoz de Chavez M . Eur J Clin Nut, 57 (Suppl. 1) 97-100, 2003.”

The alarming rise in the prevalence of obesity and associated pathologies (type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, stroke) points an accusing finger at the inadequacies between modern diets, a sedentary lifestyle and our genetic inheritance.

The postgenomic era is the catalyst for a veritable revolution in the nutritional sciences, thanks to the development of genomics and associated technologies.

Nutrigenomics relies on these new high-performance tools to define and characterize «diet signatures» reflecting the action of nutrients on the structure and expression of the human genome.

The challenges of nutrigenomics are, first, to prevent illness by detecting nutrient impacts on biological markers identifying the early stages of diseases.

 

The second challenge is therapeutic, once the disease takes hold. Here, nutrigenomics allies itself with pharmacogenomics in seeking maximum benefit from treatments.

 

In a few years tailor-made nutritional recommendations will be possible, taking into account individuals’ personal nutritional needs on the basis of their genotype, age, sex, physical activity and profession, the purpose of all this being to improve the population’s general state of health.


From Walter Wahli and Nathalie Constantin, Swiss Medical Forum, 2009a

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