Common Molecular Targets for Bioactive Food Components and Drugs
John A. Milner.
Mounting evidence points to dietary habits as an important determinant of health/disease prevention. Although
the linkages with diet are intriguing, the literature is also laden with many inconsistencies. The reasons for these
inconsistencies are likely multi-factorial, but probably reflect variation in the ability of bioactive constituents to reach or
to influence a specific and critical molecular target(s). Knowledge about three types of biomarkers will assist in
comparing the effectiveness of foods and drugs: (1) exposure (amount and time needed to bring about a response), (2)
effect (amounts and activity of specific molecular target[s]) and (3) susceptibility determinants (agent-gene interactions or
diet-drug interactions). As the era of molecular nutrition unfolds, a greater understanding of how foods and their
components influence normal cellular process and ultimately health will surely arise. Knowledge about the molecular
targets for bioactive food components may also help explain individuality in response to drugs. Such information will be
critical in the development of effective tailored strategies for optimizing health.
Keywords: Dietary, drugs, foods, genes, health, nutrigenomics, targets, omega-3, prebiotic, probiotic
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