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    Unearthing Metabolomics’ Potential

    iStock-871140910A recently published paper discusses precision nutrition and the use of metabolomics in this branch of nutritional science. Precision nutrition is an area of nutrition science that uses genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics to assess an individual’s response to specific foods or dietary patterns.

    By assessing these responses at a comprehensive, molecular level, it is now possible to determine the most effective diet or lifestyle interventions to help improve overall health and even assist with specific conditions.

    Studies and practices developed in the twentieth century highlighted the effect diet and nutrition can have on a person’s health. These important developments have meant that nutrient-related disorders have almost vanished in the developed world. However, the aim of the study on precision nutrition is to develop this science at a personal level.

    The emergence of precision nutrition has largely been tied to the development of sufficiently fast, inexpensive, and comprehensive genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics technologies. It is through these technologies that the necessary molecular measurements have become available to precisely assess food composition, identify individual genetic propensities, and/or evaluate individual responses to diet and lifestyle interventions.

    Metabolomics, which is, specifically, the profiling of metabolites in biofluids, cells and tissues, is routinely applied as a tool for biomarker discovery. It is now possible to expand metabolomic analyses to understand the systems-level effects of metabolites

    Moreover, because of the inherent sensitivity of metabolomics, subtle alterations in biological pathways can be detected to provide insight into the mechanisms that underlie various physiological conditions and processes.

    This new paper discusses how the study of metabolomics has helped launch the field of precision nutrition through the diagnosis and dietary therapy of individuals with inborn errors of metabolism. Metabolomics is also being used to comprehensively characterize the full chemical complexity of many key foods, and how this is revealing much more about nutrients than ever imagined. This science is being used to identify food consumption biomarkers and how this opens the door to a more objective and quantitative assessment of an individual's diet and their response to certain foods.

    Finally, this paper reveals how metabolomics is being coupled with other ‘omics’ technologies to develop custom diets and lifestyle interventions that are leading to positive health benefits. The paper concludes that metabolomics is vital to the advancement of nutritional science and in making the dream of precision nutrition a reality.

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