April 8, 2024

In Conversation With Dr. Rishabh Verma: Demystifying Nutrigenomics

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Ava

Avanthika Nityanand

M.Sc Human Genetics, B.Sc Plant Biology & Plant Biotechnology

In Conversation With Dr. Rishabh Verma: Demystifying Nutrigenomics
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Dr. Rishabh Verma is pioneering personalized nutrition with his venture, Nutrivison Wellness and Genetics Private Limited, blending his diverse expertise in nutrition science, business, and body anatomy to revolutionize health and wellness globally. Holding an Honorary Doctorate in Nutrition Science among other qualifications, Dr. Verma is celebrated for his innovative approach to health, earning accolades such as the "Outstanding Contribution to the Health Industry" award. At the heart of his mission is the use of advanced techniques like genetic testing and gut microbiome analysis to craft customized nutritional plans, aiming to tackle global health challenges head-on. Under his leadership, Nutrivison is set on expanding across India, promoting personalized health choices to foster a disease-free nation and uplift global health standards through tailored well-being solutions.

Livest Health caught up with him to get some updates on the exciting new field of Nutrigenomics.

Follow Dr. Verma on LinkedIn.

Dr. Rishabh Verma
Dr. Rishabh Verma

Could you explain nutrigenomics to our readers and how it fundamentally differs from traditional nutrition science?

Nutrition science has traditionally been about figuring out what nutrients and eating habits help keep us all healthy, aiming to prevent and treat various diseases with a one-size-fits-all approach.

Then there's nutrigenomics, a cooler, younger cousin in the nutrition science family that gets really personal—like, DNA-level personal. It dives into how our unique genetic blueprints shape the way we react to foods and nutrients. So while traditional nutrition might tell us "eat your greens," nutrigenomics goes a step further, asking "how does your body react to those greens?"

Imagine traditional nutrition science as giving broad advice that works for most people, setting up those dietary guidelines we see on posters. Nutrigenomics, on the other hand, is like a nutrition detective that uses your DNA to give you super personalized diet tips. It’s a bit like comparing general advice from a teacher to a customized learning plan from a personal tutor.

Nutrigenomics has been digging into how our genes affect our diet and coming up with some pretty exciting stuff, like finding out that a snack that's a health boost for you might not do the same for your friend. It’s all about customizing what we eat based on our genes to help us dodge diseases and feel our best.

This approach doesn’t just stop at what's on our plates; it's reshaping how we think about food, health, and even medicine, making it a game-changer in how we look after ourselves.

What are some recent developments in the field of Nutrigenomics?

Nutrigenomics is really shaking up the way we think about food and health, zooming in on our DNA to customize our diets. It's all about precision nutrition—crafting diet plans that fit our genetic makeup, lifestyle, and health goals like a glove.

Thanks to the data deluge and bioinformatics, researchers are now able to sift through our genetic info, finding clues on how we metabolize nutrients and our risk for certain diseases. Plus, there's this cool insight that our gut buddies—the microbiome—work with our genes to process what we eat, affecting our health and even our risk for diseases. And it doesn’t stop there; epigenetics shows that our diet can tweak gene activity, nudging our health in one direction or another.

The cherry on top? Now we've got nutrigenomics tests that give us the lowdown on our body’s nutrition blueprint, making personalized diet advice not just a fancy concept but a reality. With all these breakthroughs, we're stepping into an era where our meals are tailored just for us, promising better health outcomes by harmonizing our food with our genes.

How do genetic variations influence different types of diet?

Ever wonder why your buddy can gulp down milkshakes without a problem while just a sip bloats you up? Or why some folks munch on broccoli like it's candy, but just the thought makes you gag? Well, it's all in our genes.

woman with sunglasses drinking milkshake
Photo by RDNE Stock project on Pexels.com

Turns out, our DNA plays a big part in how we react to foods, from being lactose intolerant because of a tweak in the LCT gene, to having a love-hate relationship with brussels sprouts thanks to our TAS2R38 gene's take on bitterness.

And it's not just about whether we can stand the taste—our genes also whisper to us about when to stop eating, what foods might keep us munching non-stop, and even how our bodies handle carbs, fats, and proteins.

Enter nutrigenomics, the science that's making eating plans personal by looking at our genetic setup. This could mean waving goodbye to one-size-fits-all diet advice and hello to custom meal plans that keep us healthier and might even prevent diseases down the line. But here's the rub: how does this fit with the big-picture public health advice meant for everyone?

While public health nutrition aims to keep us all on track with broad strokes guidelines, personalized nutrition dives deep into our individual blueprints to serve up tailored advice. It's a bit like having a nutritionist in your pocket who knows your genetic secrets and helps you eat just right for you.

What kind of implications does Nutrigenomics have on public health?

Imagine if our health guidelines were like custom-tailored suits, fitting each of us just right, instead of the one-size-fits-all approach we usually see. That's where personalized nutrition steps into the picture, promising to tweak public health advice with a dash of personal flair—considering our unique genetic makeup, lifestyle, and health quirks.

This means not only could we get diet advice that feels like it's made just for us, but this custom approach could also make it easier for everyone to stick to these guidelines, potentially dodging diet-related health bulletins like heart disease or diabetes before they even have a chance to knock on our door.

Plus, imagine the boost in motivation when you know the plan you're following is literally designed for your DNA! Of course, it's not all smooth sailing—there's the tricky business of getting our hands on genetic tests, keeping our data safe, and making sure everyone gets a fair shot at this personalized nutrition gig. But melding personalized nutrition with public health efforts could mean hitting the bullseye more often, offering up health advice that's not just smart, but smart for you.

What are some common misconceptions and myths about Nutrigenomics?

Diving into nutrigenetics and personalized nutrition feels like opening a treasure chest, but there's a sea of myths floating around that might make you think it's just another map to nowhere. For starters, nutrigenetics isn't some trendy diet craze; it's a legit science studying how our genes and diet dance together, aiming to craft eating plans that fit our genetic makeup like a glove.

It's not just about shedding pounds either—though it can certainly help with weight management, its scope includes pinpointing nutrient needs or cutting disease risk based on our DNA. And, it's getting easier on the wallet too, thanks to tech advances making genetic tests more wallet-friendly.

Plus, it's not just for the seriously ill or the fitness freaks; everyone can get insights to eat better and live healthier. But remember, it's not about finding a one-gene-fixes-all solution or ditching other healthy habits; lifestyle, environment, and our overall eating patterns still play massive roles.

So, while nutrigenetics gives us cool insights and personalized tips, it's not about definitive answers or magical cures. It's more about understanding our bodies better and making smarter choices, whether we're aiming for gold medals, trying to feel more energized, or just wanting to enjoy a healthier life.

How will Nutrigenomics benefit a client and affect their lives?

Nutrigenomics is like having a nutritionist and a geneticist team up to create your personal eating plan, digging into how your DNA and dinner plate shake hands. It's about mapping out a diet that's just right for you, pinpointing the perfect foods, nutrients, and even supplements that make your body say "thank you."

Whether it's dodging hereditary issues like high blood pressure with smarter food swaps, figuring out the best way to shed or keep off pounds based on how your body deals with carbs and fats, or even outsmarting those pesky sweet cravings that your genes are nudging you towards, nutrigenomics has your back.

And it's not just about dodging health bullets; it's about fueling your day-to-day life and even boosting athletic prowess by tailoring your fuel to your body's specific needs. Plus, when the advice feels this personal, it's a game-changer for sticking to those healthy changes and really owning your health journey.

From cutting-edge sports nutrition to simply feeling awesome, nutrigenomics is paving the way for a future where everyone's diet is as unique as their DNA, driving home the power of eating right for your genes.

How is personalized nutrition different from general approach?

So, you know how usually nutrition advice feels like it's shouting directions at a crowd, saying things like "everyone eat more greens!"? That's the general approach to nutrition—broad strokes for everyone, based on stuff like age and gender, but not getting into the nitty-gritty of what makes you, well, you.

Enter nutrigenomics, the science superhero that zooms right into your DNA to see how your body and certain foods are likely to get along.

It's like having a nutrition plan crafted just for you, considering all those little genetic quirks that might make you metabolize vitamins differently or react uniquely to certain foods.

Instead of a megaphone blasting general health tips, nutrigenomics is more like a personalized whisper, offering advice tailored to your body's specific genetic code.

So, while the usual nutrition guidelines serve up a decent starting point, nutrigenomics takes it to the next level, customizing your diet to fit your DNA's demands.

How does Nutrigenomics intersects with other areas of wellness like gut microbiome and epigenetics?

Nutrigenomics is all about diving deep into how your unique genetic makeup gets along with the food you eat. Think of it as a matchmaking service between your genes and your meals, aiming to figure out which food flings might turn into long-term relationships beneficial for your health.

This cool science doesn't stop there; it's best buds with studying your gut microbiome—the billions of tiny organisms chilling in your digestive system that have a huge say in your health, from how you digest food to how you fend off illnesses.

Nutrigenomics looks into how your diet influences these microscopic guests, which in turn, affect how you process nutrients. And there’s also a thing called epigenetics, where nutrigenomics plays a role too; it’s about how your lifestyle and environment, including what you munch on, can tweak how your genes behave without changing the DNA itself.

By understanding these relationships, nutrigenomics aims to cook up personalized nutrition plans that not just keep you in good shape but also keep those tiny gut residents happy and your genes expressing themselves in the best way possible.

So, it's like having a tailored diet plan that’s perfect just for you, helping you to live your healthiest life by considering how your body, right down to the genetic level, interacts with every bite you take.

What is the importance of Nutrigenomics in preventing and managing diseases?

Nutrigenomics is like having a backstage pass to see how your genes and your grub jam together, influencing everything from your mood tunes to your health roadmap. It’s about customizing your plate to play nice with your DNA, helping dodge health hiccups like obesity, heart disease, or diabetes before they even hit the stage.

Think of it as a super personalized diet plan, spotlighting the exact nutrients you need to keep your genes grooving happily. It's not just about eating right; it's about feeding your genes right, using food as a form of targeted therapy to tweak those genetic dials just so, reducing bad vibes like inflammation or tuning up your body's cellular band.

And if your genes are dropping hints about possible health bummers down the line, nutrigenomics is there to catch them early, letting you and your doc turn down the volume on those risks with lifestyle changes and diet remixes.

It's the core of precision medicine, where your health plan is as unique as your genetic playlist, ensuring that your body and your nutrients are always in harmony.

So, with nutrigenomics, you’re not just eating for today; you’re dining for a healthier tomorrow, all guided by the science of your own DNA.

What is the future of Nutrigenomics?

Imagine nutrigenomics as the future where eating plans are so tailored to you, they're like a bespoke suit for your health. As tech gets smarter, we'll see a mash-up of our genetic details with info on our gut buddies (those millions of microbes in our digestive system), lifestyle choices, and even where we live. This means advice on what to eat will be super personalized, fitting your health needs as snugly as your favorite jeans.

Researchers are also on a quest to crack the code on how our genes might wave red or green flags for disease risks, making it easier to dodge health bullets with the right food choices. We're talking about a future where dietary advice isn't just general blabber but precise directions that consider everything from your DNA to your dinner plate.

Plus, imagine getting a nutritional plan that's not just about eating your greens but about finding the perfect mix of nutrients that sing in harmony with your genes.

And with a nod to pharmacogenomics, the combo of your meds and meals could be fine-tuned to your genetic tune. Throw in some AI magic to sift through all this data, and we're looking at understanding our health and nutrition in ways we never thought possible.

So, nutrigenomics isn't just changing the game; it's creating a whole new playbook for personalized health and nutrition, promising a future where every bite we take is a step towards optimal health.

More questions for Dr. Rishabh? Shoot an email to [email protected]

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