Patients, friends, and family have been asking Dr. Jimenez what are nutrigenomics, and nutrigenetics?
Genomics & Nutrigenomics
Nutrigenomics: Is the study of how food and nutrients affect our gene expression.
Nutrigenomics Follows A Whole Body Approach
Nutrigenomics examines Relationships Between What We Eat
- The risk/response to diseases
- Genes and gene expression
Uses A Variety of Tools In Identifying Disease Risk
- Food diaries record nutrient input
- Biomarkers: Example metabolite or hormone levels are examined to understand the body’s response
- Genomic essays to identify relevant gene variations
- Clinical data:
- BMI for monitoring the health impact of food
Ap plied to a Wide Range of Conditions
- Risk of developing metabolic syndrome based on genetic variants and controlled by diet and lifestyle
- Links between gut microbiota, obesity, and mental health
- Correlation between specific nutrient intake and diseases
- Example: Coffee and cardiac irregularities
Identify, and provide supplements to a woman who metabolizes folate poorly in order to reduce neural tube defects in pregnancy.
Recommending a low fat diet versus low carbohydrate diet as the best way to lose excess weight.
As technology advances along with medical breakthroughs, there is not a day without there being a new cure or treatment to learn about. The trend is currently focused on the field of genetics and genomics, which consists of having personalized nutrition.
In the past recommending nutritional plans was population based. The only difference was between age, sex and pregnancy.
There is mounting evidence that nutrition throughout one’s life course modifies the epigenome.
There has been an increase in studies, which have reported associations between gene polymorphisms, nutrition, and disease risk.
Epigenetic processes affect how the body uses nutrients.
The field of epigenetics explains unaccounted for variations in disease risk that is linked to the understanding of the interaction between nutrition and the genome.
A personalized nutrition dietary recommendation has the potential to decrease nutrition-related diseases.
There are still practical and economic challenges associated with this strategy.
Major epigenetic processes are DNA methylation, histone modification and noncoding RNAs.
This suggests the possibility that epigenotypes or (stable pattern of gene expression outside the actual base pair sequence of DNA) associated with disease risk can be changed.
Effects of Nutrients
The nature of an epigenetic change that is induced by specific nutrient/s intervention depends on the animal species, sex, genotype, and target gene, as well as, the timing of exposure and direction of the nutritional change.
There is also the possibility that epigenetic marks present at birth may act as predictors for future disease risk and pave the way to improve an individual’s health.
- Genes: Instructions written in our DNA sequence for making proteins that carry out all our biological functions.
- Not all DNA is made up of genes; some are only used for spacing like the way the letters on a keyboard are arranged, so the buttons are easier to get to. Some are instructions for the instructions, like a content page that shows what to look for before beginning a chapter in a book.
- Genetics: Study of gene inheritance how they vary from person to person and are passed on.
- Genome: Is the collective term for all of our genes.
- Genomics: A field of genetics that looks and analyzes the sequence of the genome.
- Nutrigenetics: Is concerned with how our genetic variations affect the way we respond to nutrients.
- Epigenetics: The modification to the expression of genes, not involving changes in the genetic code itself (mainly via histones and methylation), that occurs in response to environmental factors. This results in genes being switched ‘on’ or ‘off.’
Nutrition & Cancer
Knowing an individual’s genetic code helps better understand the intricacies and complexities of a case and aids in guiding recommendations in line with an individual’s genetic requirements.
However, treating Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNP’s) is not the aim of genomics.
However, even knowing someone’s SNP does not tell if a gene is on or off. This is where functional testing and case history come into play. Therefore, genomic testing is just a portion of the bigger picture.
Epigenetics is still a new science with the availability of new tools continually emerging. The field is rapidly progressing, and the findings reflect these advances in understanding and analyzing technologies.
And while trying to wrap your head around all of this can be daunting, don’t worry, it takes a few reps before it starts to make sense. And because of this, one of Dr. Jimenez’ goals is to simplify as much as possible. The program, terminology, and diet. And one way is going to be through SMOOTHIES! Putting it all into one easy drink will make it easier for everyone.
The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association advocate that many of the effects of diet on cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk and the outcomes are mediated by changes in gene expression. This means that the utilization of global transcriptional profiling is an important tool in nutrigenomics, and therefore cannot be denied that nutrigenomics is being taken seriously by those in the field of medical research.