The impact of nutrition on both physical as well as mental health has gained a lot of interest in recent years. Evolving studies are finding additional strong connections between diet, gut health and the microbiome as well as the various diseases (both physical and mental). Part of the research into these connections is being undertaken by the field of nutritional biochemistry which investigates the mechanisms which underly these interactions between diet and disease.
The biochemistry of nutrition recruits a multitude of scientific disciplines, the includes biology, chemistry and physics, in order to gain a more profound understanding of aspects such as cell function and metabolism, clinical nutrition, macronutrients and energy, nutritional genomics and additional factors which contribute to the interplay between what you eat and disease.
The primary goal of research in nutritional biochemistry is to establish the optimal dietary and nutritional requirements of both healthy individuals and those inflicted with illness. The field also seeks to develop strategies in order to reduce the side effects of pharmaceutical drugs.
What Is Nutritional Science?
The study of nutritional science is the analysis of nutrients, their functions as well as how they are involved in health as well as disease. The goal of nutritional science is to make sure that specific nutritional guidelines are suitable for different groups of people. This is dependent on their age, sex, activity level as well as special groups such as in pregnancy or disease. It is a fairly new discipline and began to grow the last 100 years, although the importance of diet to maintain health was accepted a lot earlier.
Nutritional science is an applied subject which draws information from many other biological areas specifically biochemistry, therefore a good understanding of biochemistry is needed in order to fully understand nutrition. Nutritional scientists use many of the techniques used in biochemistry, although nutritionists are more health oriented and concerned specifically with nutrients. In fact, the abundance of knowledge of nutrition is greatly attributed to biochemists.
Why Study The Biochemistry Of Nutrition?
Studying the biochemistry of nutrition may uncover vital information about the role that diet plays in the establishment, development as well as the prognosis of physical diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Illnesses that have all been associated, in some way, to diet as well as nutrition.
In addition, a developing body of evidence is starting to uncover major links between nutrition and the development as well as management of numerous diagnosable mental health illnesses and neurodevelopmental disorders. Examples are autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), anxiety, depression, dementia in addition to schizophrenia.
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This research has established the field of nutritional psychiatry which explores how certain nutrients impact mental health disorders, in order to develop new therapies based on nutritional supplements as either integrated or alternative treatments for psychological illness.
Therefore, studying the biochemistry of nutrition has a significant real-world impact. It has the potential to greatly influence the future of preventative and therapeutic strategies for mental and physical illness.