Discovery of nutritional biomarkers: future directions based on omics technologies.

Understanding the interactions between food and human biology is of utmost importance to facilitate the development of more efficient nutritional interventions that might improve our wellness status and future health outcomes by reducing risk factors for non-transmittable chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, obesity and metabolic syndrome. Dissection of the molecular mechanisms that mediate the physiological effects of diets and bioactive compounds is one of the main goals of current nutritional investigation and the food industry as might lead to the discovery of novel biomarkers. It is widely recognized that the availability of robust nutritional biomarkers represents a bottleneck that delays the innovation process of the food industry. In this regard, omics sciences have opened up new avenues of research and opportunities in nutrition. Advances in mass spectrometry, nuclear magnetic resonance, next generation sequencing and microarray technologies allow massive genome, gene expression, proteomic and metabolomic profiling, obtaining a global and in-depth analysis of physiological/pathological scenarios. For this reason, omics platforms are most suitable for the discovery and characterization of novel nutritional markers that will define the nutritional status of both individuals and populations in the near future, and to identify the nutritional bioactive compounds responsible for the health outcomes.

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