Nutrigenomics

Description:
Completion of the Human Genome Project (HGP) has advanced research in genetics and its applications to human nutrition. Nutritional science is experiencing a foundational transformation (Godard, B., 2008).

Nutrition and Genomics (Nutrigenomics) are an integrative approach to understanding how food is ingested, metabolized, and utilized in relation to health and disease. This subspecialty of nutritional science focuses on understanding the synergistic effects between a person’s genetic makeup and an individual’s response to nutrition. This discipline incorporates information from nutrition, genetics, and bioinformatics to investigate how diet and genes interact affecting a person’s health and affinity for disease (Wiwanitkit, V., 2008). Nutrigenomics is an evolving science that utilizes computational applications and data in an attempt to manage nutritionally related medical problems.

Applications:
In the context of health informatics, Nutrigenomics will play an important role as we continue to provide a more personal centered approach to medicine. Personalized medicine will include personalized nutrition (Zeisel, S. 2007). Specific patient driven nutritional information will become part of PHRs and EHRs, further optimizing a patient’s healthcare outcomes. Individual genetic variations are drivers determining how our bodies use nutrients, therefore predicting beneficial diets and appropriate courses of therapy. Incorporating Nutrigenomics into our Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) approach will enhance our repository of tools and optimize patient healthcare.

Applications in the Public Health arena will also be beneficial as we track and decipher Nutrigenomics data specific to nutritional trends, disease progression, and treatment options relating to specific demographics and populations (Zeisel, S. 2007). Dietary intervention based on nutritional requirements can be used to prevent, treat, or cure chronic diseases.

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Figure 1.

Web resources:

Related terminology:
  • human genome project
  • public health genomics
  • genotype/phenotype
  • nutrigenetics
  • single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)

References:

Godard, B., Gremmen B., Levesque, L., & Ozdemir, V. (2008) Integrating biomedical terminology. Nucleic Acid Research, 32(Database issue), D267-D270
Wiwanitkit, V. (2012). Database and tools for nutrigenomics: A brief summary. Journal of Medical Nutrition and Nutraceuticals, 1(2),87. Retrieved from http://www.jmnn.org/
Zeisel, S (2007). Nutrigenomics and metabolomics will change clinical nutrition and public health practice: Insights from studies on dietary requirements for choline. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 86(3), 542-548. Retrieved from http://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Figure 1. Hugh Sinclair Human Nutrition Group. Retrieved from http://www.reading.ac.uk