Nutrigenomics and Personalized Nutrition: Science and Concept

Martin Kussmann; Laurent B. Fay


Personalized Medicine. 2008;5(5):447-455. 

In This Article

Food Variables Related to Human Diversity

The discoveries of the essential nutrients led to a major public health breakthrough by ensuring essential nutrient supply, thereby avoiding nutrient deficiencies and preventing related diseases, all at a population level. Although most of the population in developed countries and growing population segments in developing countries are adequately nourished, even from the perspective of essential nutrients, individuals within the population may profit from improved health through more specific recommendations. Moreover, in developed countries, caloric over-nutrition increasingly coincides with micronutrient deficiencies due to a unilateral diet and these two trends contribute to the rapidly growing epidemic of obesity and diabetes.

Food diversity is proving to be most important to individual health, especially beyond the scope of essential nutrients. Macronutrients, from simple sugars via lipids to high-quality protein, influence a person's health depending on makeup and condition. For example, foods rich in simple carbohydrates and starches harm individuals with insulin resistance, while they can improve the muscle status of elite endurance athletes, who typically exhibit high insulin sensitivity.[47] Diets high in protein are suggested to exert an unfavorable metabolic programming of early infants,[48] yet they may be supportive for muscle mass conservation in the elderly.[49]

The field of nutrition has increasingly investigated how bioactive food molecules may mitigate the risk and progression of chronic and degenerative diseases.[5] While some principles have emerged, the variation in response among individuals to those bioactives may be the most important conclusion and may set the stage for future personalized diet and health.[2]


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