A leader in the Precision Nutrition space, the NRI is developing and applying cutting-edge methods to determine why metabolism and nutrition requirements differ between individuals. We seek to understand nutrient metabolism and its relationship to human development and disease with the goal of increasingly replacing general dietary guidance with more customized nutrition recommendations.
Precision Nutrition Considered in NIH Strategic Plan
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the major funding source for biomedical research in the U.S., and its funding priorities reflect what it perceives to be health issues of major concern. In its recently released 2020-2030 Strategic Plan for NIH Nutrition Research, NIH emphasizes Precision Nutrition as “critical for developing more targeted and effective dietary interventions to improve and maintain health in an increasingly diverse U.S. population.” This growing interest on the part of NIH in funding Precision Nutrition further validates the mission of the NRI.
As a renowned global leader in Precision Nutrition, NRI Director Steven Zeisel, MD, PhD, recently reviewed the state of Precision Nutrition, including our current understanding of its principles and how this understanding can be applied to improve health (Zeisel, 2020). In this review, Dr. Zeisel discusses reasons why people have differing nutritional needs, including genetic and epigenetic mechanisms, the microbiome, and environmental exposures. He also discusses some of the challenges and opportunities presented by widespread adoption and implementation of Precision Nutrition.
- NIH Nutrition Task Force, 2020-2030 Strategic Plan for NIH Nutrition Research, available at https://www.niddk.nih.gov/about-niddk/strategic-plans-reports
- Zeisel, SH (2020). “Precision (Personalized) Nutrition: Understanding Metabolic Heterogeneity.” Annu Rev Food Sci Technol 11: 71-92.
Advanced Approaches to Science
The UNC Nutrition Research Institute (NRI) is an internationally recognized center that conducts innovative basic and translational science studying how individual differences in requirements and responses to diet affect our individual nutritional needs.
We believe that our advances in nutrition science are leading to successes in preventing or mitigating the negative effects of chronic diseases and aging, and in improving human development, even prior to conception.
Identifying the genetic blueprint that makes each of us respond uniquely to nutrition and what it means for our personal health.
Studying chemical marks on genes that turn them on or off, and are often affected by nutrition early and for the rest of life.
Using molecular tools to understand how nutrients may affect the expression of genes.
Measuring thousands of small molecules (metabolites) to better understand how nutrition affects our metabolism, performance and health.
Studying how each of the many microbe species in our gut affects our nutritional health in different ways and makes us respond uniquely to nutrition.
What is Precision Nutrition?
May 31, 2019 – The traditional Chinese herb Lycii Cortex (LyC), with its powerful compound kukoamine B, could be an effective nutraceutical choice for lowering blood glucose when used alone or in combination with low doses of first-line diabetes medications.
May 28, 2019 – Most people have this basic understanding of genetics: You inherit genes from your parents, and their DNA combines to create your unique genetic makeup. This can include more obvious traits such as eye color and height but also more complex traits that may involve multiple genes, such as risk of diseases including diabetes, heart disease, obesity and cancer, as well as all aspects of metabolism.
May 20, 2019 – Steven Zeisel, MD, PhD, professor in the Department of Nutrition at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and director of the UNC Nutrition Research Institute in Kannapolis, N.C., was awarded the American Institute for Cancer Research’s (AICR) Distinguished Service Award at the institute’s annual meeting May 16, 2019.
April 18, 2019 – How are we expected to make healthy choices about food when the headlines are so confusing? We all suffer whiplash when we read butter is bad, then butter is good; when red meat is bad, then red meat is good; when red wine is good, and then it is bad….so, what is the headline du jour?
March 22, 2019 – Sergey A. Krupenko, PhD, professor of nutrition at the UNC Nutrition Research Institute (NRI), has been awarded a $2.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health for his research project, “Regulation of Mitochondrial Function by Folate...
February 11, 2019 – That Carol L. Cheatham, PhD was a scientist was clear to her family early on. At the age of 8 growing up on a farm in rural Wyoming, Cheatham conducted observational studies following the many farm cats around to find out (and diligently record in her notebook) where they would give birth. Once that got boring, she started trying to predict where the litters would be born based on her observations from the previous years.