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  • Writer's pictureMaria Tinoco

Nutrigenomics: What is it and how it can help you

If science could tell you that some of your genes will benefit by consuming certain nutrients; and that by doing this, you will maintain optimal health, would you be interested in knowing what nutrients you need to reduce risks to unwanted conditions and live a healthy life?

Well, after the human genome project mapped the human genes, advances in the field of genomic sequence analysis skyrocketed thanks to advances in computing technology. One of the emerging areas, born after the human genome project, was Nutritional Genomics. This field study the nutrients-genes interactions on health and gene expression. It tell us how gene variants alter biochemical pathways and influence the way nutrients interact with genes, enhancing or affecting our health.

Genes encode about 1/3 of the enzymes required to run your biochemical pathways. These like in a chain reaction, require cofactors to function optimally.

Enzymes and cofactors take substance A and turn it into substance B. Genetic variants may cause less than optimal conversion of substance A to substance B. Lack of cofactors may block A to B conversion.

Nutrigenomics, what is it and how it can help you

Next comes the question. Who are these cofactors required by the enzymes to do its job? You got it! Your MICRONUTRIENTS, vitamins and minerals are the cofactors, the precursors for important enzyme reactions to occur.

The importance of micronutrients in your health implies that people with specific gene variation may experience deficiencies or impairment of nutrient absorption if any particular micronutrient is not present in the body in adequate amounts.

For example, if you happen to carry the gene MCM6 (C, C)genotype, you are more likely lactose intolerant, and your body can not breakdown lactose in its components. An enzyme called lactase is needed to breakdown lactose. Because for the (C, C) genotype lactose is not digested normally and gets fermented in the intestines, you may show significantly more gastrointestinal symptoms such as gas, bloating, upset stomach, diarrhea than those with (C, T) or (T, T) genotype. Depending on your genotype, you may reduce your symptoms by reducing or adopting a lactose-free diet for some time and monitor. Not all lactose products contain the same amount of lactose, and your organism is probably able to process some of them. Examples of lactose-containing products are cow and goats milk, yogourt, kefir. Knowing this piece of information empowers you to make an informed decision. Determining your lactose threshold is essential for developing a nutrition plan suited to your needs.

Knowing which genes you carry will empower you to make the appropriate dietary changes to tailor your diet and lifestyle based on your genes.

Good health has no price!!


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