What is nutritional biochemistry?

Nutritional biochemists often work in the laboratory.

Nutritional biochemistry is the study of nutrition as a science. While nutritional science is comprised of various studies on food components, nutrients and their functions in relation to humans and other mammals, nutritional biochemistry specifically focuses on the chemical components of nutrients and how they function metabolically, physiologically and biochemically. Biochemical research in this field is primarily focused on setting dietary regulations for the general public.

Malnutrition and malabsorption are two common problems that some nutritional biochemists work on.

An integrative form of science, nutritional biochemistry uses other sciences such as chemistry, biology, and physics. It applies these sciences specifically to the study of health, diet, disease and the connections that exist between them. To do this, biochemists can check the structures of different nutrients or use a biochemistry lab to find out how specific nutrients can affect metabolism. Such research can lead to the development of public health policies and interventions.

Obesity can be the result of overnutrition.

Malnutrition is normally a serious concern for a nutritional biochemist. It is often the cause of deficiencies, illness and other problems due to nutritional deficiencies or overnutrition. These conditions can include diabetes, cancer, birth defects, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. Through the study of nutritional biochemistry, scientists can develop plans to counteract these afflictions by identifying both nutritional causes and preventive measures.

Fatigue is a common symptom of many nutritional deficiencies.

Genetics is also commonly studied by nutritional biochemists. Many diseases and dietary factors are affected by genetics; biochemists can use genetic studies to identify these different effects and improve general public health. The fortification of many different food products, the promotion of low-cholesterol diets, and the iodinization of table salt were introduced into society through recommendations made through nutritional biochemical discoveries.

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Cardiovascular disease can cause malnutrition.

People interested in a career in biochemistry with a nutritional focus should have a strong background in chemistry, physics, biology and other areas of mathematics and science. He or she would normally earn a four-year degree in an academic nutrition science program by enrolling in courses focused on nutrition as well as the required core math and science programs. These programs are often highly exclusive; some may already be based on nutritional studies, while others are in conjunction with biochemistry, toxicology or other medical programs. An internship may also be required during undergraduate studies. At the graduate level, he or she can continue towards a master’s degree.

Nutritional biochemistry examines the health benefits gained from eating organic fruits and vegetables.

The uses of biochemistry in nutrition can vary. Some nutritional biochemists teach or conduct research for government, pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology companies, or universities. They may also work in product development, food marketing, or in the fields of public health or health policy.

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