Consumption and Genome Damage

April 23/Adelaide, Australia/Technology News Focus -- According to a study from Adelaide, Australia, "The evidence that genome damage is increased with dietary excess or deficiency is compelling. Furthermore, the results of numerous well-designed animal model and human epidemiological studies indicate that genome and epigenome damage is a fundamental cause of developmental and degenerative diseases."

"Conversely, genome instability, in the absence of overt exposure of genotoxins, is itself a sensitive marker of nutritional deficiency or excess. We have shown in a cross-sectional study that above-average intake of micronutrients that are found in dairy foods (i.e., calcium, vitamin E, retinol, folate and nicotinic acid) is associated with reduced genome damage rate in lymphocytes measured using the cytokinesis-block micronucleus assay. This data also suggest that increased intake of cheese and cream contributes significantly to lower DNA damage in lymphocytes; however, this statistical association does not prove causality. Intervention trials in animal models and humans are needed to identify the type of dairy foods and fractions that are best suited for DNA damage prevention at the various stages of life," wrote M. Fenech and colleagues.

The researchers concluded, "Development of functional and/or fortified dairy foods that are specifically designed to improve genome health maintenance in humans with specific genetic backgrounds may provide an important contribution to a new optimum health strategy based on the diagnosis and individualised nutritional prevention of genome damage and open new markets for the dairy industry."

Fenech and colleagues published the results of their research in the Australian Journal of Dairy Technology ("Prevention of genome damage by dairy foods -- preliminary evidence, knowledge gaps and opportunities." Australian Journal of Dairy Technology, 2009;64(1 Sp. Iss.):106-109).

For additional information, contact M. Fenech, CSIR Human Nutrition, POB 10041, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia.

From the April 27, 2009, Prepared Foods E-dition