Obesity, a health global issue
Obesity has been defined as the global pandemic of the 21st century, since it is estimated that more than a third of the world’s population is overweight or obese1. Characterised by the excessive accumulation of fat, obesity is related to an increased risk of suffering from other metabolic disorders, such as insulin resistance, dyslipidaemia, or hypertension, which could lead to suffering of Metabolic Syndrome and/or cardiovascular diseases2.
More than a third of the World’s population is overweight or obese, making obesity a 21stcentury global pandemic
Despite the frequent efforts of government entities and health organisations to implement strategies for obesity prevention, the causes of this metabolic disorder are very wide, so multiple external or environmental factors (diet, sedentary lifestyle), internal or genetic factors and sociocultural factors are included3–5, as well as the interaction of these elements.
Nutrigenetics in obesity, an analysis of the impact of nutrients in each individual
Nutrigenetics is a part of nutritional genomics, which aims to establish how different genetic variants – mainly the most human common genetic variation: the Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (or SNP) – specific of each individual, influence the impact of nutrients on our metabolism, and as a consequence, affect the inter-individual risk of suffering diseases, such as obesity or metabolic syndrome6.
Nutrigenetics aims to investigate genetic variants that influence the impact of nutrients on our body, which can lead to personalised recommendations
Thus, scientific advances in the field of Nutrigenetics of obesity emerge as key elements to fight this pandemic issue, because Nutrigenetics includes genetic and dietary factors, both relevant in its development.
Therefore, Nutrigenetics endorses personalised recommendations, according to the individual genetic background, including the most appropriated types of diets and even allows to precise in a personalised way the intake levels of specific nutrients, such as polyunsaturated fatty acids or vitamins7,8, with the final aim of promoting individual’s health.
The role of Nutrigenetics in PREVENTOMICS
The PREVENTOMICS project takes advantage of the Nutrigenetics knowledge. Thus, the information interpreted from gene variants that would predispose to higher metabolic risk and its potential modulation by diet and environmental factors will be used to adopt more personalised strategies.
In this context, the company Alimentómica SL, Spin‑Off‑1 of the University of the Balearic Islands and, adhered to the PREVENTOMICS consortium, will contribute to the development of a scoring system aiming to quantify the impact of genetic baggage on the risk of suffering metabolic alterations and, to rank the adequacy of specific nutritional and lifestyle interventions to counteract this susceptibility or to enforce beneficial outputs.
In PREVENTOMICS, Nutrigenetics will be used to identify gene variants predisposing to higher metabolic risk and how can be modulated by diet to prevent the onset of diseases
Volunteers participating in the PREVENTOMICS approach will receive comprehensive nutritional and lifestyle advices focused on preventing diet-related diseasesin a personalised way, based on a nutrigenetic approach.
Finally, the study will assess the effectiveness of following dietary guidelines and lifestyle adjusted to the genetic background and other metabolic parameters. PREVENTOMICS is aiming to contribute to the development of efficient tools for the prevention and/or treatment of obesity within reach of the general population.
Master in Business Administration (MBA), Telecommunications Engineer, CEO of Alimentomica SL. Entrepreneur and manager with experience in planning and coordinating projects in the areas of research and development, information technologies (IT), telecommunications and marketing. Specialized in planning, analysis and management of resources for the successful achievement of projects, with special relevance to the management of people within multidisciplinary teams. A. Palou-March has developed and implemented the algorithm that is been applied in Metigentity (Alimentomica SL). This has been based on nutrigenetic evidence compiled and structured in a database and, the application of a set of objective criteria (defined with the help of the panel of experts belonging to the Scientific Committee of Alimentómica).
Professor of Nutrition and Food Sciences at UIB and founding member of the biotechnological-based enterprise Alimentómica SL, spin-off of UIB, currently holds the position of Director of R&D. She has been Director of R & D Service of UIB (1993-96) and National Expert at the European Commission (1997-2000) at the Directorate General for Science, Research and Development (Brussels), participating in international scientific cooperation tasks in the field of Nutrition and Food Sciences (mainly under COST programme). Her research focuses on studying the molecular basis of obesity, particularly analysing regulation of body weight by nutrients, their interaction (nutrigenomics and nutrigenetics) and the impact of diet (including milk microRNAs) on early developmental stages on susceptibility to obesity in adulthood.
Assistant Professor at UIB. She has a degree in Biology (2005) and in Biochemistry (awarded with Extraordinary Prize) (2007). She got the PhD in Nutrition and Metabolism (Interuniversity Program) with the outstanding qualification Cum Laude and with Mention of European Doctor. She has been incorporated at Alimentómica (2014-2017) in a post-doctoral position with co-financing support of the Torres-Quevedo program. Since then she continues his collaboration within the company contributing to the development smart foods and its relationship with the prevention of obesity. Her scientific interest is focused on metabolic imprinting, perinatal nutrition and the role of early leptin in adult susceptibility to obesity.
- Chooi, Y. C., Ding, C. & Magkos, F. The epidemiology of obesity. Metabolism. 92, 6–10 (2018).
- National Institute of Health. Managing overweight and obesity in adults: Systematic evidence review from the obesity expert panel. Natl. Hear. Lung, Blood Inst.501 (2013). doi:10.1002/oby.20819
- National Institute of Health. Managing overweight and obesity in adults: Systematic evidence review from the obesity expert panel. Natl. Hear. Lung, Blood Inst. 501 (2013). doi:10.1002/oby.20819
- McAllister, E. J. et al. Ten Putative Contributors to the Obesity Epidemic. Crit. Rev. Food Sci. Nutr. 49, 868–913 (2009).
- Romieu, I. et al. Energy balance and obesity: what are the main drivers? Cancer Causes Control 28, 247–258 (2017).
- Apalasamy, Y. D. & Mohamed, Z. Obesity and genomics: role of technology in unraveling the complex genetic architecture of obesity. Hum. Genet.361–374 (2015). doi:10.1007/s00439-015-1533-x
- Ramos-Lopez, O. et al. Guide for Current Nutrigenetic, Nutrigenomic, and Nutriepigenetic Approaches for Precision Nutrition Involving the Prevention and Management of Chronic Diseases Associated with Obesity. J Nutr. Nutr. 10, 43–62 (2017).
- Galmés, S., Cifre, M., Palou, A., Oliver, P. & Serra, F. A Genetic Score of Predisposition to Low-Grade Inflammation Associated with Obesity May Contribute to Discern Population at Risk for Metabolic Syndrome. Nutrients 11, 298 (2019).
- Galmés, S., Serra, F. & Palou, A. Vitamin E Metabolic Effects and Genetic Variants: A Challenge for Precision Nutrition in Obesity and Associated Disturbances. Nutrients 10, 1919 (2018).