Nutrigenetics: The Beginner’s Guide
Nutrigenetics is a field of study that explores how our genes interact with the foods we eat and the nutrients they provide. Our genes play a significant role in determining how our bodies absorb, metabolise, and utilise the nutrients from our diets. This article will explain what nutrigenetics is, how it affects our health, and how it can be used to optimise our diets.
What is nutrigenetics?
Nutrigenetics is the study of how our genes interact with the foods we eat and how these interactions can influence our health. The genes we inherit from our parents influence how our bodies process nutrients and respond to certain foods. For example, some people may be genetically predisposed to lactose intolerance, while others may have a higher risk of developing celiac disease.
How does nutrigenetics affect our health?
Nutrigenetics can impact our health in several ways. Variations in our genes can influence how our bodies absorb and utilise nutrients, as well as how they respond to certain dietary patterns. For example, individuals with certain genetic variations may be more susceptible to developing metabolic disorders, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, in response to a high-fat diet (1).
On the other hand, genetic variations can also impact how our bodies respond to specific nutrients. For example, individuals with certain variations in the FTO gene, which is associated with obesity, may have a higher response to dietary protein and may benefit from a high-protein diet to promote weight loss (2).
How can nutrigenetics be used to optimise our diets?
Nutrigenetics can be used to optimise our diets by identifying the specific dietary patterns and nutrient requirements that are best suited for our individual genetic makeup. For example, genetic testing can be used to identify individuals who are at higher risk of developing vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Nutrigenetics can be used to develop personalised nutrition plans that are tailored to an individual's specific nutrient requirements. For example, individuals with certain genetic variations may require higher levels of certain nutrients, such as vitamin D or omega-3 fatty acids, to optimise their health.
Nutrigenetics is a field of study that explores how our genes interact with the foods we eat and how these interactions can influence our health. Our genes play a significant role in determining how our bodies absorb, metabolise, and utilise the nutrients from our diets. By understanding our individual genetic makeup, we can identify the specific dietary patterns and nutrient requirements that are best suited for our unique needs and optimise our diets for optimal health.
1. Qi Q, Chu AY, Kang JH, Huang J, Rose LM, Jensen MK, Liang L, Curhan GC, Pasquale LR, Wiggs JL, De Vivo I. Fried food consumption, genetic risk, and body mass index: gene-diet interaction analysis in three US cohort studies. bmj. 2014 Mar 19;348:g1610.2. Hjorth MF, Zohar Y, Hill JO, Astrup A. Personalized dietary protein and resistance training can independently improve weight loss and maintenance outcomes following a caloric restriction diet. Frontiers in physiology. 2018 Jul 5;9:734.