The term nutrigenomics is the integration of genomic science with nutrition and lifestyle variables including cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption. Environmental Health Perspectives published an article in 2007 stating that nutrigenomics definition has broadened to include nutritional factors that can aid in protecting the genome from damage. Their findings stated there have been several studies in cell cultures, animals and humans that displayed macronutrients (fatty acids and proteins), micronutrients (vitamins), and bioreactive chemicals (phytochemicals including flavonoids, carotenoids, coumarins, and phytosterols; and zoochemicals like eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid) regulate gene expression in diverse ways. They are directly involved in metabolic reactions that determine hormonal balances, detoxification processes, immune competence and the utilization of macronutrients. Food biochemicals like genistein and resveratrol aid in transcription which can alter gene expression. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are DNA sequence variations that account for 90% of all human genetic variations. A technological advancement allows researchers to measure many molecules at one time and found up to 500,000 SNPs per individual. SNPs alter the basic maintenance of the cell which can bring on risk of diseases developing. Most cases of chronic disease are not caused by mutations in one gene, rather the interaction of many variants in genes. In Australia, mothers are required to take high-doses of folic acid for prevention of neural tube defects in infants. This practice could actually result in those to be born with MTHFR C667T Polymorphism. The children then would be less likely to convert folate to its usable form. If their dietary environment is low in folate and riboflavin the children will struggle with health problems 8.
Nutrition plays a crucial part in the expression of genes as well as the stability and integrity, it has now been labeled “genome health nutrigenomics”. There are thousands of DNA changes in each cell on a daily basis, the entire genome could be destroyed if not properly repaired. Increased damage to the genome can cause infertility, neurodegenerative diseases, developmental defects and cancer. If each genome was provided the nutrients it needed it could aid in prevention of these major diseases. Nine key nutrients have been related to genome integrity, six of these aid in reduction of DNA damage (folate, B12, niacin, vitamin E, retinol, and calcium) the other three are associated with increasing DNA Damage (riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and biotin) which could be compared to occupational exposure to genotoxic and carcinogenic chemicals. A slight folate deficiency could have the same effects on DNA as annual limit of radiation times ten 8.
Ben van Ommen, director of the European Nutrigenomics Organization, and colleagues hypothesize that all diseases can be reduced to imbalances in four overarching processes: inflammatory, metabolic, oxidative, and psychological stress. Diseases arise from genetic predispositions to one or more of these stressors. Diseases of civilization is labeled from diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular diseases. When the population adopted a high-sugar and fat diet, it was labeled the “Western diet”. The loss of traditional plant-based diet was followed by skyrocketing rates of obesity, diabetes, and later included cancer. Certain populations include genotypes that require higher nutritional needs, if not met, selection against those genotypes takes place. If those needs are met, such as additional calories from carbohydrates and fat, the gene that holds the additional nutrient requirement will survive in the population. The resulting theory is that nutrient availability can drive genomic shifts in a population. Genetic variants also play a significant influence on food intake from the encoding of taste receptors and peripheral signaling peptides, including insulin, and the receptors that correspond 8.