One increasingly relevant problem of great social and medical importance in modern developed countries is overnutrition and unbalanced food intake. Excessive consumption of junk food, combined with insufficient intake of vital elements such as vitamins, dietary fiber and others has led to this problem to be characterized as "deficiency in abundance ."
The science of food and the principles of nutrition is called nutrition. In recent years, it has developed significantly, distinguishing its latest areas, namely - nutrigenetics, nutrigenomics and orthomolecular nutrition.
Nutrigenetics studies the genetic differences in the human genome in terms of its response to certain foods, ie the unique metabolism of each person. It studies the influence of genotype on diet and hence the development of a disease.
Nutrigenomics, in turn, registers the effects of food on the human genome, ie the ability of a particular diet to change the underlying genetic information and hence to influence the onset of disease.
The combination of a certain genotype, diet and lifestyle is related to the prevention or development of most modern chronic diseases - hypertension, obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, coronary heart disease and even cancer.
Some of the more important discoveries in the field of nutrigenomics are:
- Insufficient and unbalanced nutrition of the pregnant woman affects the genome, through IGF-insulin-like growth factor, in the fetus - ie in the earliest stages of fetal development.
- Children of mothers who are underweight or overweight before and during pregnancy are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes in adulthood.
- The risk of developing the above diseases increases several times when leading an unhealthy life in adulthood.
- Children born with low weight but gaining weight quickly in the first year of life do not increase, but reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in adulthood.
- Low birth weight and low BMI - body mass index up to 2 years of age, as well as rapid weight gain after this age, high BMI at 11 years of age are independent factors and all of them are associated with the occurrence of cardiovascular disease. in adulthood, in both men and women.
- In adulthood, nutrition affects the gene expression of the genome, which can lead to the emergence of new metabolites responsible for the onset of a particular disease.
What is the connection between nutrition and cancer?
There are a number of cases in which a particular diet is associated with the development of a particular type of cancer. This is the case with the increase in the incidence of colon cancer among the Japanese population, which was registered after 1960 and is associated with the adoption of the "Western diet", low in fiber .
Another example is the registration of more cases of colon cancer with excessive consumption of red meat . This is explained by the formation of carcinogenic nitroso compounds in the gastrointestinal tract, which can lead to mutations in key genes. However, the importance of genes in some cases plays a leading role in the triggering mechanism of the malignant process.
In addition to the consumption of a certain type of food, the presence of a certain genotype is important for the occurrence of cancer.
The development of diabetes and obesity is also undeniably associated with the presence of a particular genotype, but the candidate genes that are responsible are still being studied.
What is the future of nutrition?
The main goal of nutrition science is to determine the individual genotype of each patient and the so-called. "Metabolic signature", which would provide an answer to the most appropriate individual diet for him , and will also be able to prevent the emergence and development of major multifactorial diseases before their clinical manifestation. For this purpose, it is necessary to perform genetic analysis in each patient, as the isolation and examination of DNA is performed by isolating monocytes from the blood.