Through nutritional genomics, precision medicine seeks to find the right diet for the specific needs of each individual. It also identifies the nutritional needs and genetic predispositions that are unique to each individual.
Each of our bodies processes foods differently: both in regard to our taste in food and sense of smell, as well as to the impact food has on our metabolism and how it affects the body. Biotechnology has focused on this area in order to evaluate personalized eating options where diet can be a determining factor in the health of an individual.
In an interview with the EFE news agency, the director of the Research Group on Genetic and Molecular Epidemiology at Universidad de Valencia, Dolores Corella, states, “Genetics determines how certain foods are consumed: while some people are genetically predisposed to consume greater amounts, others are predisposed to consume lesser amounts.” With alcoholic beverages, for example, Corella explains that some genes can influence our intake of alcohol.
The goal for the future is for each of us to have a specific diet that fits our individual genetic profiles. Currently researchers are studying alternatives to put an end to issues such as obesity, a disease deemed to be influenced by genetics. Leptin, for example, is a hormone that helps regulate bodyweight and is being studied to introduce it as part of the treatment for preventing obesity. As Corella explains, however, “We believe that leptin resistance is actually what causes most cases of obesity. If leptin is administered to adults that have developed a resistance to it, they do not lose weight.”
These types of advances in medical science are expected to contribute to personalized or precision medicine along with advances in technology and genomics.