Wouldn’t it be nice if losing weight and preventing disease could be as simple as understanding your genetics? Imagine a personalized plan that would help you determine how YOU can lose weight and the best way for YOU to fight disease. Insert--nutrigenomics. Considered an emerging science, Nutrigenomics has been in the medical community for over a decade. It studies the foods we eat and how it interacts with your specific individual genes. It also studies how these foods increase the risks of common chronic diseases.
Some of these common diseases include Type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, stroke and certain cancers. Nutrigenomics also strives to understand how common chemicals in the diet affects health by altering your genes. To state it in its simplest form, nutrigenomics studies genetic research and how foods affect our genes. In return, it understands how genetic variations affect the way we react to nutrients. In theory, understanding how our bodies react to foods and certain chemicals may be indicators on how to lose weight and fight disease.
The Incorporation of NutriGenomics
Many scientists and doctors are excited about the possibilities of nutrigenomics. Research has suggested that more personalized nutrition is vital. Since nutrigenomics is still an emerging science, more research still needs to be implemented. More research will help understand if it works. But, nutrigenomics has already altered the way some people eat. It has also helped nutritionists recommend diets to their clients. Nutritionists who use nutrigenomics don't believe in the “one size fits all” diet that was the standard in the past.
Understanding the Human Genome
To understand nutrigenomics you must understand the human genome. Taking it back to 9th-grade biology class, let's take a quick lesson on the basics of the human genome. The human body has 23 pairs of chromosomes. Within those 23 pairs live three billion DNA pairs. About 98 percent of our genes are the same but that two percent accounts for the genes that make you unique. These unique traits can be hair texture, allergies and muscle type. These genetic variants are what impacts how we look and what our specific body needs to thrive. Studying the human genome, researchers have discovered that different people respond to different diets. This is due to the DNA variations. These variations provide a vital impact on how and what causes us to lose and gain weight.
How Nutrigenomics May Affect your Body
According to research, nutrigenomics may reveal many things about your body. It claims to help you understand why you have certain medical issues, and what you need to fuel your body. Researchers also say it reveals what you should avoid that will damage your body. For example, nutrigenomic strives to inform you what kind of diet you need to manage your weight and what food intolerances you may have. The theory is that by understanding the diet that aligns with your genetic variants, it may become easier for you to manage your weight and fight disease.
For example, if you aren't aware that you’re lactose intolerant you may not realize the bloated feeling, upset stomach and even new skin rash is due to the ice cream you had for dessert. Also, nutrigenomics may help you discover the healthy fats needed in your specific diet and the number of carbohydrates YOU may need or not need. Maybe your body needs more foods rich in vitamin A,--Nutrigenomics will tell you that. Nutrigenomics provides a detailed comprehensive view on what your body desires.
Research on nutrigenomics is continuous, controversial and not definite. But, its possible powers can be accessed through a simple DNA test and other tools. The tools doctors use to discover nutrigenomics’ factors range from studying your eating behaviors, food reactions to nutritional needs. They also track your hormone levels to understand your body's response. They identify genetic assays that show relevant genetic variants. Plus they use clinical data such as age, weight, sex and body mass index (BMI) to watch the health impact of the foods you eat. These specific tests analyze your genetic nutritional profile. Your nutritional profile can reveal many things. These include allergies, food intolerances and necessary carb and protein intake.
Nutrigenomics was slated to be huge. It was labeled “the next big thing in our fight against lifestyle diseases.” But, nutrigenomics received a blowback. A European study reported that there was no evidence that genotypic information could boost effective personalized nutritional plans. Yet, not everyone agreed. Nutrigenomic studies continue with more in-depth and broader factors such as behavior and psychological factors of said individual.
Nutrigenomics is an emerging science that can give people individualized health and nutritional plans based on their genetics. These individualized plans are tested through your DNA along with other contributing factors. Understanding your genetics and what works for your individual body should inform you of what foods you should eat and not eat. It should also tell you how these foods affect your body, how to lose weight and how these foods affect diseases you may be predispositioned to. Although this science is promising and continuous, it is controversial.
Angela Rightout is an enthusiastic, innovative writer with extensive experience in content writing, journalism, videography and social media. She earned her bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from Loyola University Chicago. She is passionate about well-researched content.
Angela enjoys writing on a broad range of topics from health and wellness to food, technology, entertainment and news.