Ethical Considerations in Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics

Ulf Görman, Jennie Ahlgren, Karin Nordström

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterpeer-review


Ethics is the study of the normative dimensions of human relations and experiences. This chapter discusses such questions in relation to basic values in modern society. The normative foundations for the analysis are the values of human dignity, autonomy, freedom, equality, and solidarity, as well as the responsibilities of society toward its citizens, including freedom, security, and justice. The questions that are brought up touch on how implementing nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics in personalized nutrition services relates to these values.

Health and food are primary human needs. The choice of food can contribute to the support of health, but it can also come into conflict with health. Personalized nutrition may be seen as part of a wider trend toward early preventive actions to treat susceptibility to disease. If personalization of nutrition can contribute to eating habits that support health instead of threatening it, this will be beneficial for the individual, but it may also be good for society as a whole. As a consequence, pressure on societal expenses for health care may be reduced.

Personalized nutrition, as well as the wider concept of precision nutrition, have stimulated expectations and are often described as having great potential, but it has also been difficult to realize them. Studies indicate that there is widespread optimism among researchers engaged in nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics regarding at least its long-term benefits, whereas there are divergent viewpoints within the wider research community. In this situation, ethical concerns need to receive attention.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPrinciples of Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics
Subtitle of host publicationFundamentals for Individualized Nutrition
EditorsRaffaele De Caterina, J. Alfredo Martinez, Martin Kohlmeier
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherAcademic Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780128045879
ISBN (Print)9780128045725
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Ethics


  • Direct-to-consumer services
  • Human dignity
  • Personalized nutrition
  • Precision nutrition


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