Nutrient Gene Interactions

Optimal nutrition is needed to supply the necessary substrates for bone; however, other parameters also influence the impact of a given nutrient on bone health. A substantial amount of bone mineral acquisition (up to 80%) is genetically determined. An individual's ability to utilize a given nutrient intake is influenced by his or her genetic makeup.

Many candidate genes have been associated or linked with the risk of osteoporosis or fracture, including genes coding for hormones (PTH), receptors (including PTH, vitamin D, estrogen, glucocorticoid, and calcitonin receptors), cytokines and growth factors (including IGF-1, transforming growth factor-^, epidermal growth factor, interleu-kin-4, and interleukin-6), and bone matrix proteins (such as osteocalcin, collagen type 1 (a1 and a.2), and collagen type 11 (a1)). Although many of these genes have obvious roles in bone metabolism, other candidate genes (such as those coding for apolipo-protein E and methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase) have less obvious relationships to bone mass.

Several studies have found interactions between genotype, nutrient level, and environmental factors. For instance, the impact of exercise on bone can be influenced by the habitual dietary calcium intake and the individual's genotype (such as the vitamin D receptor genotype). Further research on the genetic control of bone mineral acquisition and loss will be invaluable in targeting groups at risk for low bone mass and may eventually be useful in setting genotype-specific intakes of bone-related nutrients to maximize skeletal health throughout the life cycle.

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