Food is so much more than a source of micro- and macro-nutrients. Food contains an entire library of chemical compounds, each with the ability to influence the DNA in our genes. It has been estimated that the plant kingdom alone contains around 10,000 phytochemicals, each capable of influencing gene expression. The multiple and interactive chemical effects on gene expression from even a single meal is the subject of very active research in the field of nutrigenomics
Using food biomolecules to modify gene expression
What do we mean by ‘changing gene expression’? Genes can be ‘switched on’ or ‘switched off’, ‘turned up’ or ‘turned down’ in their activity depending on the signals they receive. So if a food-derived compound is known to have favourable effects on human health, it sends a chemical signal to the cell which is likely to ‘switch on’ or ‘turn up’ genes which code for protective enzymes such as the Antioxidant enzymes and the Detoxification enzymes.
Conversely, if the food is known to have unfavourable effects on human health (such as a TRANS fatty acid), then the genes promoting inflammation are likely to be ‘turned up’. Changing the paradigm. Where we once thought that a food such as broccoli is beneficial to human health because of the vitamins and minerals it contains, Nutrigenomics tells that it is so much more than this.
Also rich in micronutrients, broccoli is the source of nutrigenomically-active compounds such as sulforaphane, a bioactive compound shown to potently activate the expression of around 2000 protective genes.
Taking nutritional medicine to a higher level
It is this enhanced understanding of the power of food in human health which must challenge the way we view the treatment of disease. Harnessing the power of Nutrigenomics takes personalised health care to an entirely new level.
Clinical Nutrigenomics IS the way of the future. Anchored firmly in peer-reviewed evidence, Nutrigenomics provides a logical platform on which to influence health and disease at the cellular level.
It will challenge and must replace outdated and flawed models that have underpinned some of the practice of Nutritional Medicine for six or more decades. It will change the way you view patient care.
Find out how you can employ the rapidly-evolving discipline of Clinician Nutrigenomics to take your practice to new and exciting levels.
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