Nutrigenetics and the Relationship between Food and Genes

Nutrigenetics, also called personalized nutrition, studies the relationship between genes and food. It helps people establish what diet they should follow based on their DNA to be able to prevent diseases in the future.
Nutrigenetics and the Relationship between Food and Genes

Last update: 23 September, 2021

Genetic information undoubtedly has an influence on our bodies. However, other factors must also be considered, such as diet. This is where the relationship between your diet and genes comes in. Nutrigenetics is the science that helps explain this relationship.

It’s allowed experts to answer questions such as: How does a person who eats whatever they want not gain weight? Why don’t I lose weight even if I follow a strict diet? Although there are many factors to consider, knowing your genetics is essential to be able to adapt your diet accordingly.

What’s nutrigenetics?

As we mentioned above, this scientific discipline, which is also known as personalized nutrition, studies the relationship between food and genes. It deals with the following aspects:

  • The influence of genes in the foods we eat
  • Increased or decreased risk of suffering from some diseases
  • Development of personalized nutrition guidelines

In addition, it’s important to know that a concept that’s similar and complementary to this scientific discipline exists: nutrigenomics. Below, you’ll discover what it consists of, as well as the similarities and differences between both disciplines.

Nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics

Nutrigenomics studies the mechanisms by which nutrients act as chemical signals to influence gene expression. In fact, they modify protein synthesis and the functioning of several metabolic pathways.

At present, both concepts are particularly relevant in the field of emerging medical disciplines. It proposes the adaptation of preventive measures and treatments to people’s particular characteristics.

A doctor holding DNA.
Each person’s genetic information is unique and determined by the mix of maternal and paternal genes.

What impact do genetic variations have?

All human beings are 99.9% identical in their genetic makeup. However, in the remaining 0.1% lie the differences in hair, skin color, height, or weight, as well as an individual susceptibility to disease or health.

How we look, or the diseases we can develop, are the result of differences in gene expression or altered processes. An example of a gene expression alteration is a mutation that occurred thousands of years ago, which causes lactose intolerance.

Nutrigenetics: the relationship between food and genes

As you probably know, the food you eat contains many active substances that can either benefit or negatively affect your health. The state of health is given by the interaction between the genetic map and the environment it relates to.

Several studies suggest that this genetic map is sensitive to the nutritional environment, which is why gene expression will vary according to a person’s diet. According to this, a genetic component is responsible for dietary response differences between one person and another.

Food and genes.
An increasingly greater emphasis is placed on nutrigenetics for the prevention of diseases that are associated with inadequate diets.

Read this article to learn more: Nutrients to Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

How can nutrigenetics help you?

Each person’s genetic information conditions their nutritional status. Although you obviously don’t have control over your genes, the more you know about this, the easier it’ll be for you to act on the rest of the factors that you can modify.

In this regard, diet is the main environmental factor because we’re always exposed to it. Likewise, it can be modified and adapted.

This is why nutrigenetics is so important. It gives you clues that allow you to counteract your negative genetic tendencies or risk for certain diseases with a diet and lifestyle that’s appropriate to your particular needs.

How you can apply it

Until not too long ago, traditional diets only considered environmental factors and some aspects such as age, sex, height, physical exercise, and certain biochemical variables.

However, it currently helps people establish what diet they should follow based on their DNA to be able to prevent diseases in the future.

What we should clarify about nutrigenetics

The fact that some dietary components play a key role in regulating gene expression is undeniable. Likewise, you need to know that, the more you know your genes, the easier it’ll be for you to follow a proper diet.

Don’t forget that a trained professional can best advise you on this issue. We should also note that, although following an adequate diet is essential to avoid diseases, you must accompany this with a healthy lifestyle.

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