Editor(s): F. M. Ruemmele Annales Nestlé Vol.70 / 2,  2012


This issue of the Annales comprises four reports from renown experts pointing out latest knowledge in the field of the interaction between nutrition and genetics, more commonly summarized as nutrigenetics. The areas discussed cover the fields of fatty acid metabolism and related health issues, the effect of nutrition and antioxidant status on disease prevention, the effect of methyl metabolism on brain development, and lastly, a report on the molecular mechanism of epigenetic regulation with a prospective to translate this knowledge to daily life in the near future. A common conclusion from all four reports is that external modifications do not necessarily provoke the same biological effects in different individuals, especially on the long-term scale. The observed differences may not be explained by individual genetic variations alone but also by the timing of interventions, the so called 'window of opportunity'.

  • Genetic Variations in Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Metabolism – Implications for Child Health?

    Author(s): E. Lattka,N, Klopp, H. Demmelmair, M. Klingler, J. Heinrich, B. Koletzko

    Sufficient nutritional supply with polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) has long been considered as beneficial for child health, especially in regard to neuronal development and allergic diseases. In recent years, genetic association studies showed that in addition to nutritional influences, the genetic background is highly important for PUFA composition in human tissues. Specifically, polymorphisms in the fatty acid desaturase genes or FADS determine the efficiency of how PUFAs are processed endogenously. Recent gene-nutrition interaction studies suggest that these polymorphisms modulate
    the effect of nutritional fatty acid intake on complex phenotypes such as cognitive outcomes and asthma risk in children. These early results may provide the basis for future well-specified dietary recommendations to achieve optimal health benefit for all children. This article presents results from recent gene-nutrition interaction studies, discusses its implications for child health, and gives an outlook how this association might translate into clinical practice in the future.

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