Nutrition Genetics and you

posted on 25/02/2016

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A healthy diet contributes to a long and healthy life, but exactly what is a healthy diet? Is it the same for everyone? No. One size does not fit all and one diet, or one “Recommended Daily Dose” does not suit all.

Nutrigenetics involves the study of how individual genetic variation affects interaction with components of the diets, including micro & macronutrients and toxins. Genetic variation has been demonstrated to affect uptake, transport, metabolism and elimination of food components and also affects individual daily requirements for some essential nutrients.

Nutrigenetics aims to use genotype information from an individual to determine the properties of the proteins coded by certain genes and the effect this has on metabolism, transport and assimilation of nutrients in the diet and the effect on elimination of toxins. A genetic variation, e.g. a SNP, can affect the activity of an enzyme which can affect the metabolism of a nutrient such as folic acid. This is exactly analogous to pharmacogenetics where the variation in a gene affects the rate of drug metabolism.

The aim of nutrigenetics is to be able to modify standard dietary guidelines according to the individual genotype and phenotype – again based on many years of accumulated scientific evidence mainly from observational and intervention studies. The level of evidence for nutrigenetics is similar to that used to develop and justify standard guidelines.

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