How do smart foods relate to nutrition for children? How do you make more intelligent choices of food to nourish your child’s individual genotype? What is meant by intelligent foods that target and nourish specific genes? How are you using food and the numerous areas of nutrition to manage your child’s genetic and metabolic signature? In what direction are you moving–for example, eating to nourish and protect the health of your family at the atomic, chemical, molecular, cellular, and genetic levels?
Clinical dieticians and nutritionists, by allying with molecular geneticists, genetics counselors, physicians, molecular genealogists, family historians, phenomics professionals, nutritional and medical anthropologists, and archaeogeneticists are collaborating with consumers of genetics testing, but what are they really sharing?
If not so much raw materials such as DNA from donors, is shared, then how about access to information—databases and various discussion forums online and e-mailing lists equally open to consumers, licensed healthcare providers, and research scientists? Who controls access to new research—the consumers, the corporations, or the scientists?
Can the average consumer afford to find out what to eat for improved health and nourishment based upon tests of genetic expression? Can consumers override any inherited risks revealed in the genetic signature with foods and nutraceuticals individually tailored? What does it mean to eat ‘smarter’ foods that target specific genes compared to eating more intelligently regarding choice?
Scientists compare genetic distances between populations by comparing the frequencies of forms of genes called ‘alleles.’ Mutant alleles can be mapped as population genetics markers. Some, but not all mutations in genes may put you at risk for certain chronic diseases if you eat the wrong foods for your genotype. The solution is to eat more ‘intelligent’ foods customized to your individual genetic profile.
Research also looks at rare alleles. Their rarity gives them special power as markers of genetic similarity. There’s a good chance two identical mutant alleles share a common origin. You can map genes for ancestral origin, migrations, or to reveal risks of disease depending upon which genes you map.
How do you as a consumer, not a scientist, choose the smartest food tailored to your genetic signature? How do you interpret your DNA test results for ancestry or family history?
What is the link between tailoring your foods to your genetic expression and tracing your ancestry though DNA testing? And what genes are tested for either reason? How do you bridge the gap between nutritional genomics profiling and testing DNA for deep ancestral origins?
Does ethnicity play any role in tailoring your food and nutraceuticals, drug dosages, or healthcare? How much can the average consumer self-educate and/or start a private DNA bank for a consumer or patient group?
How do you raise funds, contract with research scientists, and form or serve groups needing their DNA researched for specific reasons? How does learning how to interpret the results of your DNA tests for ancestry relate to understanding genetic tests for cardiovascular or other inheritable risks?
Start researching on your own what you need to know as a consumer to have more choices in customizing foods for your genetic signature—your genotype. What are some realistic applications of genetic testing and profiling?
How do you nourish your body? What can your genes reveal to you through genetic testing and profiling? It’s your private information and should remain private. A good place to release it finally would be in a time capsule and history scrapbook for your heirs. Here are how some branches of human genetic history are linked to your nutrition, ancestry, and most of all nourishment.
Prosopography is all about human history and genes that travel because your genes have both a cultural and a biological component. The cultural component includes onomastics which is the study of the origin of a name and its geographical and historical utilization.
Proteomics is about drug discovery. Pharmacogenetics researches how your genes respond to various drugs and dosages to avoid adverse reactions to medicines. Nutrigenomics (nutritional genomics) brings together nutrition and genetics.
Put all these branches of molecular genetics together with molecular genealogy. Add nutritional genomics—molecular nutrition, and what do you have? Knowledge of how every molecule in your body responds to certain foods, lifestyles or exercise can now be studied at the molecular level.
New sciences such as pharmacogenetics open doors to learning how your genes respond to nutrition and nourishment. Maybe you want to know how your body responds to certain herbs, nutraceuticals (supplements), foods, or any chemical in your environment, even a skin lubricant or salve or a cosmetic.
It’s all within the sciences of pharmacogenetics and/or nutrigenomics. Today, it’s not just about how your body responds. You look at the molecular level, the cellular level to study how your genes respond to nourishment, medicine, lifestyle, and the environment.
What if you take many prescription drugs and want to know how rapidly or slowly your body is metabolizing the medicine? You are concerned about the drugs building up in your body or interacting with one another. Pharmacogenetics tests several of your genes.
With food menus, nutrigenomics tests other genes. At least you can find out whether you metabolize fast, slow, or like the majority of people. One size will never fit all people because genes recombine. They shuffle, and individuals have different responses to different drugs, cosmetics, or foods.
Multidisciplinary nutrition research and collaboration is necessary for nutritional genomics to bring together diverse expertise. Scientists working in the disciplines of nutrition, biochemistry, and genetics need to share, collaborate, and interface in this field.
If scientists are more concerned about positioning themselves first in publishing their research and won’t share DNA with all scientists, how can research ever move forward?
You might want to read “The Metabolic Basis of Inherited Disorders,” 6th ed. McGraw-Hill, New York: 2649-2680, 1989. Then compare the latest research in nutritional genomics on how smart foods (foods tailored to your genetic signature) influence risk of chronic disease. The longer science studies the entire genome (rather than the specific SNPs for certain chronic diseases) the more information will be forthcoming on how food and lifestyle influence your health based on the genes you inherited.
According to the National Institutes of Health, “Your lifestyle, the food you eat, and where you live and work can all affect how you respond to medicines.”
But another key factor is your DNA, which contains your genes. Scientists are trying to figure out how the make-up of your DNA can contribute to the way you respond to medicines, including pain-killers with codeine like Tylenol®#3, antidepressants like Prozac®, and many blood pressure and asthma medicines.
Scientific discoveries made through this research will provide information to guide doctors in prescribing the right amount of the right medicine for you.
According to its website, “The National Institutes of Health aims to improve the health of all Americans through medical research that solves mysteries about how the human body normally works—and how and why it doesn’t work, when disease occurs. One goal of this research is to help improve the good effects of medicines while preventing bad reactions.”
Click on the National Institutes of Health to see their question and answer site. The point is that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to medicine or food or even cosmetics and skin products.
According to the National Institutes of Health, here is the National Institutes of Health’s answer to the question of “Aren’t prescribed medicines already safe and effective?”
On their question and answer page, they reply, “For the most part, yes. But medicines are not ‘one-size-fits-all.’ While typical doses work pretty well for most people, some medicines don’t work at all in certain people or the medicines can cause annoying, or even life-threatening, side effects.”
If you’re wondering why one size doesn’t fit all since our DNA is supposed to be so similar world-wide, it really varies due to some people’s genetic variations, diversity, and mutations.
According to the National Institutes of Health (reprinted here with permission) from their Web site, “As medicines move through the body, they interact with thousands of molecules called proteins. Because each person is genetically unique, we all have tiny differences in these proteins, which can affect the way medicines do their jobs.”