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Studies on nutrients, gene expression could lead to tailored diets for disease prevention
Date:3/5/2010

Personal health recommendations and diets tailored to better prevent diseases may be in our future, just by focusing on genetics.

Researchers at Kansas State University recently published an academic journal article discussing the potential for nutrigenomics, a field that studies the effects of food on gene expression. The researchers discussed the possibility of using food to prevent an individual's genes from expressing disease. The researchers said nutrigenomics could completely change the future of public health and the food and culinary industries.

"Nutrigenomics involves tailoring diets to someone's genetic makeup," said Koushik Adhikari, K-State assistant professor of sensory analysis. "I speculate that in five to 10 years, you would go to a genetic counselor or a physician who could help you understand your genetic makeup, and then a nutritional professional could customize your diet accordingly."

Adhikari collaborated with Denis Medeiros, professor and department head of human nutrition, and Jean Getz, former K-State graduate student in human nutrition, for an article on nutrigenomics that was published in the January issue of Food Technology. Getz, now a student at the School of Osteopathic Medicine at Michigan State University, wrote the article while at K-State.

Nutrigenomics is a fast-moving field of research that combines molecular biology, genetics and nutrition to regulate gene expression through specific nutrients. Nutrients have been shown to affect gene expression through transcription factors, which are biochemical entities that bind to DNA and either promote or inhibit transcription of genes. By understanding the roles of specific nutrients and how they might cause diseases, scientists could recommend specific foods for an individual based on his or her genetics.

"Scientists are looking at the molecular mechanisms in the body," Adhikari said. "At the molecular level, you can look at what s
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Contact: Denis Medeiros
medeiros@k-state.edu
785-532-0150
Kansas State University
Source:Eurekalert

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