Obesity is a multifactorial syndrome associated with metabolic illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes, altered blood lipids and cardiovascular diseases. Genetic and environmental factors, as well as their interactions are main drivers of obesity, which make both, treatment and prevention difficult. In fact, the contribution of genetics to obesity and adiposity traits has been attributed to more than 500 loci (genetic items with specific information). Therefore, efforts are being made for the functional characterisation of the genes involved in obesity, to understand their potential impact as well as their regulation by nutrients and dietary compounds (Nutrigenomics). This knowledge can help define strategies to enhance the beneficial effects of the genetic variants that an individual possesses, as well as to counteract the negative impact of the less favourable ones.
Obesity is a complex disease mediated by both, genetic and environmental factors, as well as by their interactions
Scientific evidence give support to the use of genetic scores to estimate the genetic predisposition to obesity, for example combining the individual effects of those genes related to the metabolism of nutrients, the handling of fat stores, or to the energy efficiency. A genetic score is a combination of genetic variants that have in common their impact on a biological function and can be used as a preventive biomarker of obesity and associated disturbances.
Alimentomica SL is integrating the nutrigenetic knowledge generated by the scientific community, particularly the last advances of the research team ‘Nutrigenomics, Biomarkers and Risk Evaluation’ from the UIB (University of Balearic Islands), with the aim to efficiently contribute to discern population at risk of metabolic syndrome, and to drive tailored dietary and lifestyle recommendations. Recently, our team has elaborated and characterised the LGI-Ob genetic score, a genetic score expected to estimate the possibility of Low-Grade Inflammation associated with Obesity (LGI-Ob). The score is based on the presence of five genetic variants that modulate the concentration of inflammatory biomarkers in plasma and are influenced by the intake of omega-3 fatty acids. This score may represent a good genetic marker useful at evaluating an individual’s predisposition to metabolic disturbances associated with obesity and low-grade inflammation, as well as to estimate the convenience of omega-3 supplementation in specific individuals. This investigation has been published in the prestigious journal Nutrients (https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11020298) and constitutes a good example of the usefulness of genetic scores to endorse more personalised nutrition guidelines and better adjusted to the specific needs of individuals.
Obesity-related genetic scores provide information about the predisposition to obesity and can be incorporated in dietary and lifestyle strategies to counteract obesity and to improve health along life.
In the PREVENTOMICS project, samples from the participants in the project’s interventional studies are being genotyped to get information about the presence of relevant genetic variants related with cardiometabolic health (obesity, blood lipids, glucose regulation, hypertension, among main biomarkers).
Based on genetic scores, we are going to provide estimations concerning different aspects that could be incorporated in dietary and lifestyle strategies to counteract obesity and to improve health along life. For example, based on the genetics of each subject, we may estimate which kind of diet could be the most effective to minimise the predisposition to obesity or to deal with weight reduction; whether the genetic background could drive to poor satiety control, or how it could be boosted by bioactive nutrients to help in losing weight; the predisposition to regain/maintain the weight lost after an intervention, the tendency to oxidative stress, or the predisposition to low-grade inflammation (based on the LGI-Ob genetic score).
Furthermore, we are able to provide an estimation of genetic predisposition to gluten and lactose intolerance, the ability to perceive specific tastes (low sensitivity to the presence of fat in the dishes may contribute to higher intake with little awareness of the consumer), the genetic influence, or difficulty in having good sleep, the individual’s chronotype, and the genetic influence on the metabolism, transport and handling of immune related micronutrients, which could be relevant to minimise the impact of infections.
About the authors
Alimentomica contributes to the project with the expertise in Nutrigenetics. The study of the genetic variants and their interaction with diet may contribute to better adjusted dietary and lifestyle recommendations.
Master in Business Administration (MBA), Telecommunications Engineer, CEO, Entrepreneur and Manager with experience in project planning and coordination. In the last years he has developed the customization of algorithms and all the necessary software to implement them, in different projects related with precision nutrition of the spin-off Alimentomica, including the project Preventomics. Currently, he leads the Mefood Omics project combining his experience in the development of algorithms and mathematical applications, with new algorithms and processes of Artificial Inteligence and Machine Learning.
Associate Professor in the Department of Fundamental Biology and Health Sciences of the UIB (since February 2019). Her scientific career has been carried out essentially in the Molecular Biology, Nutrition and Biotechnology Laboratory of the UIB and has resulted in a total of 36 research articles published in international journals of prestige indexed in JCR, 2 book chapters, and 3 patents. Her main lines of research are: obesity, regulation of body weight and energy homeostasis, and perinatal programming of body weight and metabolic health. Particularly the study of maternal nutrition as a main contributor to the later metabolic health of offspring and the identification of compounds naturally present in breast milk potentially implicated in improving future health are her main topics of research.