Nutrigenetics and its role in research on possible GI cancer cure

Nutrigenetics and its role in research on possible GI cancer cure

Nutrigenetics, in the last one decade, has become the buzz word for nutrition specialists and researchers working on disease prevention. It plays a significant role in ensuring well-being by providing indispensable nutritional recommendations.
However, comprehending nutrigenetics can be a tedious as it requires a deep apprehension of genetics, nutrition and biochemistry. This is one of the many reasons why one rarely comes across people who admire the prominence of nutrigenetics in the reduction of severity of diseases and health optimization.
Considering the importance of the field, health practitioners are seeking detailed comprehension of the concept and its potential application in nutrition practices. This review tends to emphasize the role of nutrigenetics as an emerging knowledge in disease prevention, health optimisation, and its implications in the dietary practices with respect to gastrointestinal (GI) cancer.
Gastrointestinal Cancer
GI cancers have been one of the most common and fatal forms of cancer for a long time now. As per the data compiled by GLOBOCAN 2018, stomach cancer has been ranked as the third most deadly cancer and the fifth most common neoplasm in the world. An estimated of 7,83,000 people died of GI cancer in 2018 making it among the deadliest of all forms of cancer.
Gastrointestinal cancer includes group of cancers that affect all the organs of the digestive system and of the gastrointestinal tract. Common forms of gastrointestinal cancers include colon and rectal cancer, liver cancer, stomach cancer, pancreatic cancer and esophageal cancer, among many more.
Role of Nutrigenetics in GI Cancer
Multiple experimental approaches and studies have been used in the field to discover GI cancer prevention techniques through dietary aspects of health. However, the concept of nutrigenetics has a long way to go before implying nutritional recommendations through genetic testing for control and prevention of diseases.
Even after being acquainted with the fatality of the disease, application of nutritional treatments is barely undertaken. This is because of the limiting knowledge of even educated professionals in this field. However, the disease demands absolute nutritional support.
Nutritional Research
Studies reveal that one of the most pertinent components responsible for one carbon transfer reactions is B vitamin folic acid. Epidemiological studies reveal elevated risk factors of colorectal neoplasia as a consequence of low intake of folate (or folic acid). Underlying reasons behind this association includes adverse impacts on synthesis and repair of DNA and disturbances in its methylation patterns. Studies on genetic features will help clarify the impact of folate or nutrition intake on individuals. Besides, genetic polymorphism study can help form necessary hypothesis with respect to biological mechanisms leading to carcinogenesis.
Interdependence of Folate and Carcinogenesis
Low intakes of folate sources are positively associated with increased prospects of multiple cancer forms. Both epidemiological and experimental researches lay emphasis on the significance of folate in multiple forms of GI cancers.
Nutrigenetics of Folate Metabolism
Folate contributes as a major donor of one carbon units which is why it has an integral role to play in nucleotide synthesis and methylation reactions. The association of folate and carcinogenesis can be discovered from the fact that in the duration of colon carcinogenesis, the promoter specific hypermethylation and global DNA hypermethylation take place wherein researches indicate that the latter is a consequence of low folate intake. On the contrary, genetic decreased risks of the disease have been observed with high vitamin intake which includes vitamins B6, B-12 and B-2. Low alcohol intake has also been found to be eliminating risk factors to an extent.
In Light of Stomach Related Cancers
The group of symptoms experienced by people suffering from the disease is termed as anorexia-cachexia syndrome because of the multiple symptoms experienced simultaneously. Even after the existence of nutritional treatments, cachexia is still doesn’t have a cure. Common symptoms of cachexia include fatigue, poor physical performance, weight loss, and weakness. Perioperative nutrition is still believed to have prospects of reducing postoperative complications among the patients.
Studies reveal reduction in complications and deaths among patients with perioperative nutrition. Gastric cancer nutrition must be an indispensable part of the complex treatments of cachexia. Besides, it must play a significant role in the palliative treatment undergoing unresectable (not capable of being surgically removed) stomach cancer. Inadequate and inconsistent knowledge in the field of nutrigenetics is resulting in inconsistent care of the patients undergoing the disease.
Considering both, the positive and negative impacts, an ideal form of nutrition must be chosen among the parenteral and enteral nutrition. While parenteral nutrition leads to easy administration of optimal nutrition and fast provision, there are prospects of risks related to immune dysfunction due to septic complications. In case of enteral nutrition, no infectious complications have been revealed and it also possesses the ability to maintain the functional integrity of the gastrointestinal tract. Also, tube feeding in case of enteral nutrition is likely to help tolerate chemotherapy.
One of the major symptoms observed in gastrointestinal cancer is under-nutrition. Both preoperative and postoperative nutrition support is found to have been obligatory to reduce complications of the disease. Reports state the significance of pre as well as post-operative nutritional are so immensely efficient that it resulted in a decline of mortality among patients experiencing stomach cancer. A challenging task among the patients of the disease is maintaining a balanced nutrition intake. Symptoms of the disease result in a poor nutrition which is why more emphasis is given to nutrient based liquid supplements and smaller meals. Home parenteral nutrition is also an option that can serve to be comparatively better for most.
Nutritional Supplementation
The nutritional research reveals the impact of multiple drugs on the nutritional status of the patients. The drugs include certain hormones, such as cytokine inhibitors, anti-emetics, and appetite stimulators. Besides, the high intake of vitamins in the duration of the disease likely hinders the effectiveness of chemotherapy or radiation therapy. The intake results in the enhancement of cellular oxidative damage repair of the cancer cells. This is why the American Cancer Society advices in limiting one’s vitamin intake. Food safety is supposed to be paid adequate attention when cancer patients tend to be immunosuppressed.
Taking into consideration the food habits of the patients, potential benefits of Omega-3 fatty acid and fish oil have been disclosed. As gastrointestinal cancers tend to result in multiple stomach disorders and Megestrol has been found to be helpful. However, the ideal dose of the component is yet to be defined. Besides Megestrol, Corticosteroids, Dexamethasone and Thalidomide are also shown to have positive effects. Eventually parenteral and enteral nutrition are the most effective ways in palliative treatments with respect to cachexia.
To sum it up, the application of nutritional recommendations has not been in vain. Surveys reveal that about 71 per cent reductions in the cases of colon cancer in men. The reductions have been observed taking into consideration multiple dietary factors. This proves that cancer prevention and health optimisation through nutrigenetics is more than just a possibility.

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