Topic of the Month
1 October 2010
The human body needs micronutrients for several vital functions. Insufficient amounts in the body can increase the risk of multiple diseases. Micronutrient requirements vary from person to person and are dependant on age, sex, activity and performance levels, as well as physical and mental health condition. For a long time, insufficiency has been thought to be only a matter of inappropriate intake. Recent research has shown, however, that variable levels of micronutrients across populations seem also to strongly depend on the individual’s genetic profile: differences in DNA sequences, so-called ‘genetic polymorphisms’, among individuals can result in varying metabolic capabilities to utilize (absorb, transport, transform) vitamins etc. after intake. Thus, levels of micronutrients in blood and tissues might be limited by specific genetic variants, potentially increasing the risk of insufficiency and related diseases.