Could a Diet Tailored to Your DNA Save Your Life?

The kitchen of the future, says one leading scientist, is likely to be equipped with dispensers to deliver your personalised prescription of nutritional supplements. A daily dose might be squirted into your morning coffee. Or perhaps, says Jeffrey Blumberg, professor of nutrition science and policy at Tufts University in Massachusetts: “A 3D printer will include the nutrients you need in a bespoke piece of chocolate in your favourite shape.”

Genetic science is already taking us closer to a healthcare model aimed at preventing disease based on individual propensities, rather than waiting to treat symptoms. John Hesketh, a molecular biologist at the University of Newcastle medical school, has referred to personalised nutrition as the holy grail of healthcare. “It would be preferable to tailor treatment to the individual, rather than to a group or just the population generally,” he says.

The NHS Genetics Education website (aimed at NHS staff) agrees: “In the future … we may be able to recommend a diet rich in foods that contain a particular nutrient that acts by ‘switching off’ a gene that contributes to the development of specific chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s disease …”

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