The study of nutrigenomics and nutrigenetics on the human genome has moved to the forefront of modern health and wellness. Many people are interested in how their genetic makeup can be affected by how they absorb nutrients. Understanding that your overall well-being is connected to the food you put in your body is the first step to a healthier lifestyle. But what do words like nutrigenomics and nutrigenetics mean, and how can they improve your health?
Keep reading to learn the key differences between nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics and how these studies can be used to change the world of healthcare.
What is Nutrigenomics?
Nutritional genomics, or nutrigenomics, is the study of how food and nutrients affect your gene expression and your health. It is similar to epigenetics, which focuses on how your behavior and the environment you live in can lead to variability in gene interactions. This branch of science looks at “single nucleotide polymorphisms,” which are different ways genes are expressed, known as different phenotypes, in the same population.
In nutrigenomics, for example, scientists have learned that consuming certain foods that alter your health, such as folate or Vitamin D, will also affect the human genetic composition, influencing the DNA you pass on to your children. If you don’t achieve your recommended nutrient intake, it’s possible that you could create life-altering health conditions that will pass down through your bloodline.
The food you consume leads to a series of chemical reactions in your cells called “metabolic pathways.” At the end of these pathways are something called “metabolites,” which are modified by chemical reactions and enzymes. In other words, the food you eat reacts with your body in a specific and unique way. The more you know about your genetic makeup, the better choices you can make for yourself.
Nutrigenomic studies are key to hereditary disease prevention for conditions like obesity, insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, heart disease, breast cancer, high cholesterol, and more. These chronic diseases are common in families with poor health histories and can take generations to rectify.
The Future of Nutrigenomics
By predicting hereditary illnesses, nutrigenomics can help prevent the continuation of harmful genetic conditions by identifying them in the early stages of life — or even before conception.
Many chronic health conditions are made more manageable when diagnosed at an early age. Children who are born with gene variants that lead to conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular disease have a much higher chance of managing and limiting their illness than those diagnosed during adulthood. Many of these conditions will still require lifelong treatment. Still, the severity of their impact can be reduced by identifying the biomarkers and starting treatment in the early stages, leading to better health outcomes.
Nutrigenomics can also help identify whether you have an increased risk of passing on conditions to your future children. This information about your genetic variants could help parents decide if having biological children is the best choice for them or can better prepare them for the conditions their child may have susceptibility to.
What is Nutrigenetics?
Nutrigenetics is the scientific term used to describe how your body responds to nutrients based on your genetic variation. Nutrigenetic research can determine which nutrients your genotype absorbs efficiently, identify possible food sensitivities, and where to take proactive dietary intervention steps to avoid nutrient deficiencies. This type of nutritional science information can also outline how your body composition and weight loss respond to macronutrients in your food intake—carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
Using nutrigenetics, experts can identify your ideal nutrient intake for your body’s receptors, including core vitamins and minerals. In doing so, nutrigenetics can identify serious health conditions, like B12 deficiency and pernicious anemia. GenoPalate uses nutrition research and the results of your genetic testing to create bioactive personalized supplements based on your genes that are vegan-friendly and cost-effective.
The Future of Nutrigenetics
Nutrigenetic research is a powerful public health tool that you can use to unlock your body’s full potential.
Through nutrigenetics, nutritionists can identify which nutrients your specific body needs to perform optimally. By using this method of science-based nutrition, human beings could thrive on personalized diet plans from childhood. This could lead to longer, healthier lives, reduced chronic disease risk, and promote healthier lifestyles worldwide.
Many people spend years or even decades suffering through preventable and manageable illnesses because they aren’t able to receive a proper diagnosis. Many of these conditions, deficiencies, and intolerances can be identified through the study of nutrigenomics.
The future of nutrigenetic and nutrigenomic research is implementing them in everyday healthcare and normalizing the idea that our quality of life depends on the food we put in our bodies.
Want to harness the power of nutrigenetics yourself? Discover how and why a DNA test can tell you how to eat.