Each person differs from the next by an average of over 3 million genetic variations in their DNA. This genetic diversity is responsible for many of the interindividual differences in food preferences, nutritional needs, and dietary responses between humans. The field of nutrigenetics aims to utilize this type of genetic information in order to personalize diets for optimal health. One of the most well-studied genetic variants affecting human dietary patterns and health is the lactase persistence mutation, which enables an individual to digest milk sugar into adulthood. Lactase persistence is one of the most influential Mendelian factors affecting human dietary patterns to occur since the beginning of the Neolithic Revolution. However, the lactase persistence mutation is only one of many mutations that can influence the relationship between dairy intake and disease risk. The purpose of this review is to summarize the available nutrigenetic literature investigating the relationships between genetics, dairy intake, and health outcomes. Nonetheless, the understanding of an individual’s nutrigenetic responses is just one component of personalized nutrition. In addition to nutrigenetic responses, future studies should also take into account nutrigenomic responses (epigenomic, transcriptomic, proteomic, metabolomic), and phenotypic/characteristic traits (age, gender, activity level, disease status, etc.), as these factors all interact with diet to influence health.
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