Nutrachampion Episode 21

LISTEN: Philippines taps nutrigenomics to address persistent stunting, malnutrition – New DOST-FNRI chief

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Philippines Nutrigenomics Malnutrition

The Philippines will tap on cutting edge technologies including nutrigenomics and metabolomics to develop nutritional strategies to address the persistent issues of stunting and malnutrition in the country.

This is one of the key research priorities that Dr Imelda Angeles-Agdeppa, the new director leading the country’s Department of Science and Technology’s Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI) said in our latest Nutrachampion podcast.

Dr Agdeppa succeeded Dr Mario V Capanzana – who was also the guest of Nutrachampion​ – in January this year. 

Dr Imelda Angeles Agdeppa
Dr Imelda Angeles Agdeppa

According to Dr Agdeppa, stunting, diabetes, and obesity are long-standing problems in the country, despite previous efforts in addressing these issues.

As such, the institute will now look to nutrigenomics and dig deeper into the factors behind malnutrition.

“Diabetes and stunting are the persisting problems for us. And there are some efforts already posted by our different government agencies to solve stunting and diabetes.

“However, based on our national nutrition survey, the prevalence of [stunting and malnutrition] is declining at a snail pace. And so, we have been thinking of linking the problems to metabolomics, and to study deeper [about] an individual.

“That's why I call it prescriptive nutrition, this is because we want to dig deeper into the individual level on what's actually causing stunting, it might be more on the exposure of the environment or other factors that an individual is being exposed to,” ​she said.

Asked the research execution plans, she said that the research could involve the collection of blood and/or urine samples to facilitate the analysis.

On the other hand, the research institute is in the progress of conducting a larger clinical trial on the use of virgin coconut oil on COVID-19 patients with mild to moderate symptoms.

The purpose is to replicate the findings of a previous 28-day trial​ that recruited 56 patients. Findings of that trial showed that c-reactive protein (CRP) decreased significantly in patients treated with virgin coconut oil as compared to the control group.

This time round, the research aims to recruit 120 patients and will administer virgin coconut oil in oral liquid directly to the patients, instead of mixing the oil into their meals which was the method used in the previous trial.

Listen to find out more.

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