Obesity and Nutrigenomics

Nutritional genomics is a branch of nutrition which studies the interaction between nutrients and the genes of an individual. It describes the influence of genetic variation on nutrition. Nutrigenomics tries to define the relationship between specific nutrients or nutrient regimes (diet) on human health. By exploring the interaction between dietary pattern and genetic factors, nutrigenomics aims to suggest preventive measures and treatment to many chronic and lifestyle diseases via personal nutrition.

Obesity has become an important public health challenge in the recent times.

Those individuals which are overweight or those that are obese are at a greater risk of developing one or more of the so called chronic medical conditions, such as hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, hyperlipidaemias, etc. All these conditions together with obesity are the leading cause of “preventable” deaths worldwide.

Obesity in humans arises from the interaction of multiple genes, environmental factors and behaviours, making the management and prevention of obesity very challenging,

Lack of physical activity and easy availability of appetizing foods are generally thought to be basic causes of changing lifestyle and contributing to increase in obesity worldwide.

However, the main point to ponder here is that all are exposed to the same environment, but not all become obese. The point of differentiation here is the genetic structure, which is specific to each individual.

There have been multiple reports which describe inherit-ability of obesity. Similarly, there have been studies which have proved the genetic association with obesity. These studies have been used to identify the gene-gene, gene-environment and gene-diet interactions involved in the development of obesity.

The genes that have been studied have also been validated as significant modifiers of both body weight and responsiveness to diet and exercise.

Some clinical studies that individuals following diets that matched their genotype, as determined by the weight loss test, showed statistically significant greater weight loss at all points of time, when compared to individuals on diets that did not match their genotype. Individuals on a diet identified as appropriate to their genotype by the Weight Loss Genetic Test lost an average of over 2.5 times more weight than individuals on diets that were not appropriate to their genotype.

To put nutrigenomics into practice, genetic testing is required as the test results act as the reference for diagnosis. Nutritionists together with genetic counselors are the best choice to ensure proper delivery of genetic tests’ results and how to put them to use.


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