Collier and Lee Counties Edition
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Nutrigenomics Can Help Shape a Customized Healthy Diet

Nutrigenomics, the study of how nutrition impacts human gene expression, is now playing a big part in personalized medicine, particularly in prevention, wellness and the treatment of illnesses.

According to Today’s Dietician, a magazine for nutrition professionals, although nutrigenomics and nutrigenetics fall under the same umbrella, there is a difference. Both study how individual genetic makeup contributes to observed differences in response to diet and how that gene-diet interaction contributes to predisposition to disease. Nutrigenomics goes deeper to the molecular level, where nutrients transmit signals that can be translated into changes in gene, protein and metabolite expression.

In other words, nutrigenomics looks at what happens in our cells when we eat, don't eat, or eat too much. Applying nutrigenomics to everyday life as the future of nutrition science offers new tools for a naturopathic doctor as well as a dietitian-nutritionist to design and prescribe diets for individuals based on their genome and their genetic variations, which may ultimately affect health outcomes.

More closely aligned with the true meaning of health care, individuals, that decide to be proactive, rather than reactive, about their health are taking action and having genetic testing done by online companies such as 23andme.com. Although genetic testing and analysis is more frequently requested for ancestry purposes, some individuals are choosing to add on the additional cost for reporting genetic health risks that they can take to their dietician or physician for translating and for the purpose of designing a diet and lifestyle to maintain health or prevent the expression of particular genes that could pose future problems.

Teresa Spano is naturopathic doctor and member of the team at Lee Physician Group Integrative Medicine, located at 26800 S. Tamiami Tr., Ste. 350, in Bonita Springs. She lectures locally on nutrigenomics and personalized medicine. To make an appointment or for more information on local lecture schedules, call 239-495-4480.

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