Saturday, June 15, 2019

Retrospective #120: Nutrigenomics

According to Wikipedia, “In modern molecular biology and genetics, the genome is the entirety of an organism's hereditary information.”  “The study of the global properties of genomes of related organisms is usually referred to as genomics….”Nutrigenomics,” then, “is the study of the effects of foods and food constituents on gene expression.” “Nutrigenomics [thus] aims to develop rational means to optimize nutrition with respect to the subject's genotype,” which, in the case of humans, colloquially speaking, is the “genetic make-up” of an individual.
I have more than a passing interest in this subject: Thirty-three years ago, I was diagnosed a Type 2 Diabetic. I probably “presented” with all the symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome maybe 40 years ago – half a lifetime. But today this cohort includes half the human race – the half that is overweight or obese and has the indications of Metabolic Syndrome: central obesity, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and a dysfunctional glucose regulation (Pre-Diabetes or “frank” Type 2 Diabetes). To the point, this is the population that now eats a processed food diet.
Wikipedia: “It is hoped that by building up knowledge in this area, nutrigenomics will promote an increased understanding of how nutrition influences metabolic pathways and homeostatic control, which will then be used to prevent the development of chronic diet related diseases such as obesity and Type 2 Diabetes. Part of the approach of nutrigenomics involves finding markers of the early phase of diet related diseases; this is the phase at which intervention with nutrition can return the patient to health. As nutrigenomics seeks to understand the effect of different genetic predispositions in the development of such diseases, once a marker has been found and measured in an individual, the extent to which they are susceptible to the development of that disease will be quantified, and personalized dietary recommendation(s) can be given for that person” [all emphases added].
My Commentary: The prospect that, as this new science develops, “personalized dietary recommendation(s) can be given for that person” is appealing. It would be nice to have some scientific proof that if one changed one’s diet it “would return the patient to health.” It would be nice to know the particulars of the gene and protein expression, and the metabolite production and genetic sequencing, that half  the human race has that gives it a “genetic predisposition in the development of such diseases” and is therefore “susceptible to the development of that [chronic diet-related] disease” (obesity and Type 2 Diabetes). Such “personalized dietary recommendations” could then be given to half the world’s population who have this genotype that predisposes them and makes them susceptible to such diseases.  Yes, it would indeed be nice. I look forward to such erudition.
But, wait a minute! What am I missing here? Am I being obtuse? We already have laboratory “markers” – okay, they’re admittedly “crude” markers compared to a DNA microarray, but they are definitive proof; they are both measurable and repeatable; they are the indications of Metabolic Syndrome: 1) central “truncal” obesity with associated hypertension, 2) dyslipidemia, particularly low HDL and elevated triglycerides, 3) and a broken glucose metabolism, characterized by progressively worsening Insulin Resistance (IR = carbohydrate intolerance), and perhaps even a diagnosis of Pre-Diabetes or frank Type 2; all measurable, all repeatable, and all reversible!!!
Besides these laboratory results, your waist-hip ratio can tell you almost everything you need to know.  And we already know specifically and exactly what “intervention with nutrition can return the patient to health:” REDUCE TO THE FULLEST EXTENT THAT YOU CAN THE CARBOHYDRATES IN YOUR DIET. (How do you like them apples?)
For the last half century, we’ve been getting notoriously bad nutritional advice. Now, finally, many of the establishment’s weight loss “experts” are starting to see the light and are seeking “cover” by offering vague, non-specific advice to just “diet and exercise” and “eat healthy.”  The “old” view that to lose weight everyone should eat a “restricted-calorie, balanced diet,” is acknowledged to be all wrong. It just doesn’t work! As a result, an increasingly skeptical public is open to an approach that actually does work: a low-carb, moderate-protein, high-fat diet. That is my “prescription,” and I aver it would work for half the human race. Is it time for you to try it?

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