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What is nutritional genomics or nutrigenomics?

Brian Tanzer
Nutrition & Dietetics
Nutrigenomics is the study of how food and its many bioactive components influence gene expression. There are many compounds found in plant foods that have the ability to "turn on" or "turn off" a specific gene. One example that has been published in the scientific literature is the ability of resveratrol, (a compound found in plants such as the skin of red grapes and peanuts) to partially mimic the effects of calorie restriction on gene expression. When given to mice, resveratrol has been shown to reduce the activity of genes associated with aging of heart and skeletal muscle. This is just one of many examples of the powerful impact plant compounds and other natural substances can have on gene expression. This is why a healthy diet can have such a powerful impact on disease risk. Jeffrey Bland, PhD has lectured and written extensively on the subject of nutrigenomics.

Nutritional genomics, or nutrigenomics, is a new branch of science combining nutrition and genomics. Nutrition is considered an environmental element, and genomics is inborn. A simple example of how nutrigenomics works is that a person with hereditary hypertension should be careful to monitor salt intake. Scientists hope that in the future, personalized nutritional recommendations will reduce disease and aid recovery from disease, as well as promote continued good health for those who are disease free.

 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.