Nutrigenomics. The word is a combination of nutrition and genome. It’s the study of how the foods we (and our pets) eat communicate with our cells, how these cells react and express and influence the predisposition to health and disease.
What is a genome?
A genome is the genetic material of an organism made up of DNA. It includes both the genes, the non-coding DNA, mitochondrial DNA, and chloroplast DNA. In other words, it contains a complete set of DNA and its genes. “A genome contains all the information needed to build and maintain an organism.” A genome is unique to every being, unless it has an identical twin. Variations on the DNA sequence of a genome can have a “significant effect on an individual’s risk of developing a certain disease.”
Scientists have been studying the genome for many years now. One such study is the Human Genome Project. Scientists have also been discovering how nutrition influences these genes. That’s why we now have nutrigenomics.
“Gene expression refers to the process where information from a gene’s DNA sequence is translated into a substance.” In a study conducted by researchers of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), they found out that a diet consisting of 65% carbohydrates “causes a number of genes to work overtime.”
Berit Johansen, a biology professor at NTNU, said that “This affects not only the genes that cause inflammation in the body…but also genes associated with development of cardiovascular disease, some cancers, dementia, and type 2 diabetes — all the major lifestyle-related diseases.“
What does this mean?
As individuals, we have different genetic makeup with a specific nutritional diet in order to live a healthy life. This concept is now being applied to pets as they parallel all studies being conducted on humans. It was found that “certain dietary constituents such as vitamins A and D, zinc and fatty acids can directly influence gene expression”.
Functional ingredients such as nutrients (glucosamine, for example) and herbal supplements have found their way into our food and the food we feed our pets. If you noticed, there are many pet foods designed for a dog’s life stages. But while these may try to address a particular need, it may just as well be good for a specific dog but not another.
The bottom line
As nutrigenomics unfolds for both humans and pets, we must be aware of what we should be putting on our table and feeding our pets. We must consult professionals that will be able to address our specific dietary needs to live a healthy life. As for pets, a veterinary nutritionist should be able to give your pets the best individualized nutritional diet he or she may need.
In the meantime, Addiction Foods have been at the forefront of giving the right, balanced diet for both dogs and cats. Our dry and raw-dehydrated dog foods have taurine long before others had it in theirs. We even have vegetarian dog food for hypersensitive dogs, Zen Vegetarian.
Check out our other Addiction pet food products for your pets’ daily nutritional needs.
Addiction Foods pet foods are available from your local store.