Does Nutrogenomics Give the Answer for Better Dietary Interventions?

Every now and then, dietitians come across clients who do not respond to conventional dietary interventions; very often we have the tendency to assume there has been non-compliance. Are there any other reasons for these non-repondents?

Nutritional sciences are discovering that there are people who are genetically different from the norm in some way, and they may have some specific nutrient requirements that are not being recognised. It is now also found that dietary components can interact with the genome and modify subsequent gene expression. A new term emerged in this area is “nutrogenomics”, which refers to genetic nutrition. It is hoped that the study of nutrogenomics can lead to more accurate evidence-based dietary interventions for prevention of diet related common diseases.

Nutrogenomics has recognized that genetic predisposition plays a pivotal role in response to diet and susceptibility to disease. This provides the tools for genetic screening, to help health professionals to better understand individual nutrient requirements. However, there are more than 23,000 functional genes in the human genome, screening all the genes may not provide all the relevant information for nutritional assessments. Besides, differences in the varying responses to diet between individuals are not solely because of genetic variations; life stage, lifestyle, prior nutritional and physiological variables and etc. all influence the differences between individuals. Therefore, genotyping is not the secret to personalizing diet and health. Being said that, I do believe that genetic screening for nutrition related disease susceptibility will have an important role in the prevention of these diseases.

Reference:

  1. L.R. Ferguson and M.P.G. Barnett (2012). Research in nutrigenomics and potential applications to practice. J Nutrition & Dietetics. Volume 69, Issue 3, pages 198–202, September 2012. DAA.