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What is Nutrigenomics?

Nutrigenomics is a branch of 'nutritional genomics' and is the study of the effects of foods and food constituents on gene expression. This means that nutrigenomics is research focusing on identifying and understanding molecular-level interaction between nutrients and other dietary bioactives within the genome.

Nutrigenomics is a multidisciplinary science. Nutritional genomics, or nutrigenomics, is the study of how foods affect our genes and how individual genetic differences can affect the way we respond to nutrients (and other naturally occurring compounds) in the foods we eat.

Nutrigenomics has received much attention recently because of its potential for preventing, mitigating, or treating chronic disease and certain cancers, through small but highly informative dietary changes. The conceptual basis for this new branch of genomic research can best be summarized by the following 5 pillars of nutrigenomics:

1-Under certain circumstances and in some individuals, diet can be a serious risk factor for a number of diseases (i.e., diabetes, arteriosclerosis, RA, MS, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, ALS, etc.)

2-Common dietary chemicals can act on the human genome, either directly or indirectly, to alter gene expression or structure. Dysbiosis is extremely common.  We are exposed to over 85,000-100,000 chemicals everyday in the United States. Glyphosate being one of the most damaging.  1.2B pounds of toxic chemicals are dumped into our air and water each year in the US.

3-The degree to which diet influences the balance between healthy and disease states may depend on an individual's genetic makeup. (Comprehensive Genetic Testing.)

4-Some diet-regulated genes (and their normal, common variants) are likely to play a role in the onset, incidence, progression, and/or severity of chronic diseases. (Functional Genomics Nutrition and Supplementation.)

5-Dietary intervention based on knowledge of nutritional requirements, nutritional status, and genotype (i.e.,bio-individualized nutrition) can be used to prevent, mitigate or reverse chronic disease. (Comprehensive Nutritional Consulting.)

The promise of nutritional genomics is 'personalized medicine' and health based upon an understanding of our nutritional needs, nutritional / health status, and our genotype.

Nutrigenomics will also have impacts on society 'from medicine to agricultural and dietary practices to social and public policies' and its applications are likely to exceed that of even the human genome project. Chronic diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Arthritis, Autism, Hypertension, Tinnitus, Multiple Sclerosis, Asthma, and some cancers may be preventable, or at least delayed, by balanced early intervention, sensible diets and lifestyle modifications.

Keep in mind, we all have some 'loss of function' genes. Genetics may only affect our health 10-20% of the time, but when these SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) start expressing, they can cause 'metabolic chaos,' according to Functional Medicine guru, Reed Davis, CNT. However, I agree with Dr. Perlmutter, and I am quoting from his book, Grain Brain, that 'we can change the expression of more than 70% of our genes that have a direct bearing on our health and longevity.' 


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