American Association for Clinical Chemistry
Better health through laboratory medicine
Nutritional Genomic Testing: What Role Will Clinical Labs Play?

Jose M. Ordovas, PhD: June 25, 2007

Dietary recommendations aimed at preventing disease and promoting optimal health at all stages of life represent the most important practical translation of nutrition research to public health. But general health and disease-specific dietary guidelines do not taken into account physiologic differences in how individuals respond to nutrient intake.

Today, accumulated evidence suggests that an individual’s genetic makeup greatly affects the efficacy of dietary recommendations and driven by new technologies and paradigms, nutrition scientists have embraced nutritional genomics, or nutrigenomics, which in the future will be the driving force of nutritional research. This new approach to an individual’s health has the potential to have a major impact on public health by changing dietary disease prevention and therapy. Once some practical applications of nutritional genomics are developed, clinical laboratories will have an excellent opportunity to expand their services. The expertise of laboratorians in providing high quality, reliable results makes them the obvious choice for providing these new tests.

Despite the difficulties described here, the preliminary evidence strongly suggests that the concept will work, and by using behavioral tools founded on nutrition, we will be able to harness the information contained in our genomes to live longer, healthier lives.