2012, Number 1
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ABSTRACTNutrition, as a science, was born by the end of the 17th century and the beginnings of the 19th century, when Lavoisier began studying metabolism. However, Hippocrates (400 B.C.) already used to say: “as long as man can be cured with food, do not use drugs”. We now know that health depends on genetic structure and a great deal of elements that integrate the environment. We can highlight, as one of the most important ones, the nutrients we eat. The interaction between these two factors (gens and nutrients) is currently under investigation by a new science called nutritional genomics. This science describes the functional interactions of food and its components with the genome at the molecular, cellular and systemic levels, with the sole purpose of either preventing or treating diseases through diet. Nutritional genomics involves both nutrigenomics and nutrigenetics. The former studies the effects of nutrients and substances we eat in food over genic expression. nutrigenetics deals with the way different genetic variants (polymorphisms) favors different responses to specific nutrients which, eventually, leads to both different health states and diseases among individuals. Nutritional genomics is a young science with many areas still awaiting to be described. The role of water-soluble vitamins in maintaining health has left being only enzyme cofactors to become active regulators of gen expressions. Nevertheless, more research is necessary to understand their role and to use that knowledge for both prevention and management of many diseases, particularly cancer and degenerative chronic diseases.
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