October 2012 Issue

The Future Basis For Diet Plans: Genetics

The emerging science of nutrigenomics may result in certain foods tailored to prevent and heal illness.

Nutritionist Joseph Wakshlag, DVM, Associate Professor of Clinical Nutrition at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, poses a question for owners: “If you knew that your cat would develop cognitive dysfunction at age 12, and if feeding him an antioxidant-enhanced diet would delay that development, wouldn’t you do it?” That scenario may be possible in the not-too-distant future. If scientists identify a gene for feline cognitive dysfunction — and a host of other diseases with genetic risk factors — individualized nutrition and lifestyle plans could be developed for cats based on their genetic tests. It has long been known that nutrition plays an important role in preventing and healing disease in humans, cats and dogs, but its role may be greater than we thought. Researchers in the pioneering science of nutrigenomics stand squarely at the intersection of genetics and nutrition.

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