Nutrigenomics is a branch of genomics that aims to identify the best types of food for your genetic makeup. Of all the external factors to which we are exposed as human beings, diet is one of the most influential throughout our lives.
What is a personalized nutrition?
Firstly, because consuming food is a fundamental activity for the body; and secondly, because it offers great possibilities of modification and adaptation to the specific requirements of each person.
Following this idea, in recent years the knowledge and tools derived from genomics integrated with the field of nutrition sciences, giving rise to a new discipline called nutritional genomics.
According to the paper Personalized Nutrition: Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics by Dolores Corella Piquer, Spanish scientist and researcher, Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Professor of Preventive Medicine and Public Health at the University of Valencia, personalized nutrition is gaining more relevance every day, not only because it keeps people physically well, but also because it helps them fight diseases of all kinds.
However, it’s important to discern the different concepts that exist and that have been developed over the last few years.
Currently, there’s a tendency to consider Nutrigenomics as the discipline that studies the molecular mechanisms that explain the different phenotypic responses to diet depending on the genotype.
On the other hand, Nutrigenomics focuses more on studying how nutrients regulate gene expression, how polymorphisms affect expression and regulation so called Nutrigenetics, and how these changes interrelate with proteomic and metabolomic aspects within the human body.
One of the clearest benefits of eating a diet that is compatible with your genetics is that it will help reduce body oxidation, a process that occurs in the blood and tissues of living beings when there’s an increased biomolecule degradation caused by oxygen free radicals.
When this occurs in molecules of great biological importance such as proteins, lipids and nucleic acids, it can lead to cell death.
In addition to this, as the knowledge in the field of free radicals increases, something has become evident: the great involvement of these molecules in the mechanisms of many diseases, especially chronic diseases.
More greens, less meat
In case you don’t have the possibility to undergo a genetic study to determine the best diet for you, it’s advisable to include at least between 5 and 7 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. An example of a medium fruit being an orange or an apple; in the case of vegetables, a tomato or half a cucumber, according to Luisa B. Lima Hernández, senior researcher at the National Center for Natural and Traditional Medicine and Associate Professor at the University of Havana, Cuba.
Talking about animal products, we should eat meat and animal fats with moderation, as they lead to heart disease, gout, cancer, or arthritis.
Common Sources of Free Radicals
- Cigarette smoke
- Air pollution
- UV light (sunlight)
- Excessive consumption of alcohol/drugs
Common Sources of Antioxidants
- Dark chocolate
- Tea and coffee
- Fruits and vegetables
- Nuts (such as walnuts, or pecans)
- Condiments (cinnamon, oregano)
- Beans (such as yellow beans, red beans)
Eating a genetically personalized diet
1) Recently it has been shown that nutritional genomics could be applied in the gene-diet interaction to design a more individualized diet for each individual by following this process:
2) A biological sample is extracted from the individual in order to obtain his/her DNA.
3) Using modern genetic analysis systems, the genetic profile of the genes of interest is determined.
4) Once the genetic profile is determined, powerful knowledge databases will indicate which type of food combination would be the most appropriate according to their genetic profile to prevent or treat the disease of interest.
5) Taking into account these foods and the preferences of the individual, the best personalized diet is advised.
Date: May 25th, 2020
By: Priscila Vega
Nutrigenomics Institute is not responsible for the comments and opinions included in this article