Research Review| Volume 105, ISSUE 9, P1425-1432, September 2005

Metabolomics in Practice: Emerging Knowledge to Guide Future Dietetic Advice toward Individualized Health


      The profession of dietetics can take an increasingly prominent role in managing health and patient care as clinicians gain access to three new resources: detailed information about the metabolic status of healthy individual clients, metabolic knowledge about the relationships between metabolite abundances and health, and bioinformatics tools that link clients’ metabolism to their present and future health status. The current use of single biomarkers as indicators of disease will be replaced by comprehensive profiling of individual metabolites linked to an understanding of health and human metabolism—the emerging science now known as metabolomics. Industrial and academic initiatives are currently developing the analytical and bioinformatic technologies needed to assemble the quantitative reference databases of metabolites as the metabolic analog of the human genome. With these in place, dietetics professionals will be able to assess both the current health status of individuals and predict their health trajectories. Another important role for dietetics professionals will be to assist in the development of the tools and their application in predicting how an individual’s specific metabolic pattern can be changed by diet, drugs, and lifestyle, with the goal of improving health and preventing the development of chronic diseases.
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      J. B. German is a professor with the Department of Food Science and Technology, University of California, Davis. J. B. German is scientific advisor and L.-B. Fay is department head, Nestlé Research Center, Lausanne, Switzerland. S. M. Watkins is president and chief scientific officer, Lipomics Technologies, Inc, West Sacramento, CA.