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  • Writer's pictureJared Potter

Decoding Your Diet: The Revolutionary Impact of Nutrigenomics on Personalizing Your Nutrition

Updated: Feb 26


Scientists working on nutrition information

Introduction:

In the era of personalization, every aspect of our lives seems to be increasingly more tailored, specific and directed to our individual needs and preferences, nutrition is no exception. Nutrigenomics (Nutrition + genomics), is an emerging space at the intersection of genomics and nutrition. It offers insights into how our genetic makeup influences our bodies interaction with food, supplements and the products and goods we consume. This series of posts will provide an overview of the transformative potential of nutrigenomics in customizing diets for unprecedented health benefits and data driven steps being taken in nutrition.


Nutrigenomics - Beyond the Hype, Understanding Its Real Impact and Limitations:

Nutrigenomics is no longer a scientific curiosity of the lab and back-office nutrition postulation; it's a practical tool for enhancing health. Many companies have been launched and founders are entering the space, bringing bold claims and cure alls concoctions, but what is it and more importantly what is it not? Nutrigenomics involves analyzing DNA to understand how specific genetic variations affect nutrient absorption, metabolism, and overall health at the individual level. This field is backed by a growing body of research supporting its potential for preventing, managing, or even reversing certain health conditions that many of us struggle with. These new companies have launched supplement programs and regimens built around incorporating insights from these discoveries. Many have sought out expert input to strengthening their scientific bases for claims and shore up evidence for applications they espouse.


The Power of Genetic Insights:

The first jargony term you’ve got to know is SNPs or single nucleotide polymorphisms. 

SNPs are defined as variations at a single position in the DNA sequence among individuals. Think of a code of letters going AAGC. A SNP of this code would be AGGC, where G was the piece that got changed. These variations can influence various biological processes, including nutrient metabolism and disease risk, in several ways:


Influence on Nutrient Metabolism

  1. Enzyme Activity: SNPs can lead to changes in the amino acid sequence of enzymes involved in nutrient metabolism, potentially altering their activity. For example, a SNP in the MTHFR gene affects the enzyme's ability to process folate, influencing homocysteine levels and folate metabolism. Here's a link to another blog post about this.

Folic Acid Enzyme Activity

  1. Transport Proteins: SNPs can affect proteins involved in the transport of nutrients across cell membranes. Variations in genes encoding these proteins might influence the efficiency of nutrient uptake, distribution, and elimination from the body. Here's a diagram of what some of these look like:

Transport Proteins

  1. Receptor Function: Changes in receptor genes can alter the binding efficiency of vitamins and minerals, affecting their bioavailability and action. For example, a SNP in the VDR gene, which encodes the vitamin D receptor, can impact vitamin D metabolism and its effects on bone health.


  1. Gene Expression: Some SNPs may influence the regulation of gene expression, thereby affecting the synthesis of enzymes, transporters, and other proteins crucial for nutrient metabolism. This can impact how nutrients are processed and utilized in the body.

Influence on Disease Risk


Up Next

In our next post on this series, we will cover in more detail the practical application of nutrigenomics, guiding you on how to leverage this invaluable genetic information to tailor your diet for optimal health. Stay tuned as we explore the transformative steps towards personalizing your nutrition, ensuring that your food choices not only nourish but also align perfectly with your unique genetic blueprint

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