Definition of Nutrigenomics defines nutrigenomics this way:  The study of how different foods may interact with specific genes to increase the risk of common chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, stroke and certain cancers. Nutrigenomics also seeks to provide a molecular understanding of how common chemicals in the diet affect health by altering the expression of genes and the structure of an individual’s genomes. The premise underlying nutrigenomics is that the influence of diet on health depends on an individual’s genetic makeup.

You might be wondering what gene expression is. goes on to define gene expression as the translation of information encoded in a gene into protein or RNA. Expressed genes include genes that are transcribed into messenger RNA (mRNA) and then translated into protein, as well as genes that are transcribed into types of RNA such as transfer RNA (tRNA) and ribosomal RNA (rRNA) that are not translated into protein. Gene expression is a highly specific process in which a gene is switched on at a certain time and “speaks out.”

Whew!  That’s a mouthful, but there are some key sentences that convey the message of what nutrigenomics is pretty well.  Gene expression is a turning point for the gene, when something happens at a certain point in time.  A clear example of this is the transition of a caterpillar into a butterfly.  The genes are no different before or after the metamorphosis, but certain genes have expressed themselves to make the change a reality.

Nutrigenomics is based on the assertion that this gene expression is guided in large part by nutrition.  If the caterpillar doesn’t get the proper nutrients, the genes for change will not express, and the caterpillar will not ever become a butterfly.  The same holds true for humans, perhaps in a slightly less dramatic fashion.  If you do not get the proper nutrition, your genes will not fully express themselves, and you will not reach your full potential.

What scientists have discovered is that they can now pinpoint precise gene markers, or SNP’s, which have the potential for expression and are affected by specific nutritional ingredients.  This means they can assess the genes of an individual to determine how much support is needed for each genetic marker, and they can then supply the proper level of nutritional support to ensure proper expression.

Click here for a list of companies which are currently offering genetic assessment services, as well as nutritional solutions to support those assessments.


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