For those who think there are no scientific studies of nutritional effects on diseases of the body, think again. Nutritional genomics science is doing just that: examining the relationship between diet and human genes, particularly as it applies to genetic mutations that can result in disease. And it’s all part of a rapidly growing trend in medicine called "personalized nutrition."
Imagine discovering that your family is predisposed to a particular disease but knowing exactly which foods help control it or prevent it. Imagine planning family meals, confident that you are feeding your children the optimum combination of foods that, based on their DNA, will give them the best odds of a healthy future. Imagine understanding how your specific genetic makeup responds to everything you ingest so that you are able to prevent, minimize or delay serious illness.
We are all products of millions of genetic mutations, variations that occurred within our DNA as it passed from generation to generation. But, just as some genes carried the blueprint for the color of our eyes, some mutations made some of us susceptible to debilitating or deadly illnesses. This is where nutritional genomics offers profound hope; hope that through diet and lifestyle we can create a biological environment that is hostile to disease and nurtures wellness.
According to the International Society of Nutrigenetics/Nutrigenomics, this is research into the “relationship between genes and nutrients from basic biology to clinical states.” By understanding how genes alter the body’s response to nutrition or how nutrition alters the body’s response to defective genes, scientists are unlocking the codes to health and longevity. Just as oncologists study cancer cells at the genetic level to determine whether a treatment will be effective; soon, the same profiling of your genetic nutritional responses will determine which specific foods will give you the best biological response, based on your unique - one and only - individual DNA.
This research is still in its infancy and there is intense scrutiny from governing agencies to prevent unrealistic expectations and evaluate international standards. But this is a rapidly growing new science that is already investigating some diet-related diseases for dietary interventions; such as for type-2 diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, obesity, hepatitis C, cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
In the very near future, we will literally be able to eat well to be well.
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