October 01, 2002
The Coming Era of Nutritional Genomics

Some experts dispute whether we know enough about how various genetic variants work to start dispensing dietary advice based on the results of genetic tests. However, companies are starting offer such services. The NY Times has published an article which is mostly on this field known as nutritional genomics or nutrigenomics (free registration required):

Sciona, a British company, is selling customized dietary advice for about $200. The company tests for 19 variations in nine genes. Six genes are involved in removing toxins from the bodies. Consumers who have variations that the company says slow this process are advised, for instance, to avoid well-done red meats, which have higher levels of certain toxins.

Another test is for the gene that produces Mthfr, an enzyme involved in using folic acid, an important vitamin. People with a less efficient version of this gene are told to eat more liver, broccoli and other foods rich in the vitamin.

Personal genetic profiles will allow individualized advice about diet, exercise, drug choices, and medical testing regimens. People who have poor toxin processing enzymes will know what toxins to avoid exposure to and even what drugs to take to enhance toxin processing. Eventually it is likely that such people will even opt for gene therapy or liver replacement. Said liver will be grown from one's own stem cells after those stem cells have been genetically engineered to enhance their toxin processing. One can even imagine diet books written for different genetic groups.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2002 October 01 01:32 PM  Biotech Assay Services

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