Proceedings of the Nutrition Society

Nutrition Society Silver Medal Lecture

Nutrigenetics and personalised nutrition: how far have we progressed and are we likely to get there?

Conference on ‘Multidisciplinary approaches to nutritional problems’

on 30 June–3 July 2008, The Summer Meeting of the Nutrition Society, was held at the University of Nottingham.

Gerald Rimbacha1 and Anne M. Minihanea2 c1

a1 Institute of Human Nutrition and Food Science, Christian Albrechts University, Hermann-Rodewald-Strasse 6, 24098 Kiel, Germany

a2 Hugh Sinclair Human Nutrition Group, School of Chemistry, Food Biosciences and Pharmacy, University of Reading, Reading RG6 6AP, UK


Nutrigenetics and personalised nutrition are components of the concept that in the future genotyping will be used as a means of defining dietary recommendations to suit the individual. Over the last two decades there has been an explosion of research in this area, with often conflicting findings reported in the literature. Reviews of the literature in the area of apoE genotype and cardiovascular health, apoA5 genotype and postprandial lipaemia and perilipin and adiposity are used to demonstrate the complexities of genotype–phenotype associations and the aetiology of apparent between-study inconsistencies in the significance and size of effects. Furthermore, genetic research currently often takes a very reductionist approach, examining the interactions between individual genotypes and individual disease biomarkers and how they are modified by isolated dietary components or foods. Each individual possesses potentially hundreds of ‘at-risk’ gene variants and consumes a highly-complex diet. In order for nutrigenetics to become a useful public health tool, there is a great need to use mathematical and bioinformatic tools to develop strategies to examine the combined impact of multiple gene variants on a range of health outcomes and establish how these associations can be modified using combined dietary strategies.

(Online publication February 27 2009)


c1 Corresponding author: Dr Anne Minihane, fax +44 118 9310080, email