CVD is a common killer in both the Western world and the developing world. It is a multifactorial disease that is influenced by many environmental and genetic factors. Although public health advice to date has been principally in the form of prescribed population-based recommendations, this approach has been surprisingly unsuccessful in reducing CVD risk. This outcome may be explained, in part, by the extreme variability in response to dietary manipulations between individuals and interactions between diet and an individual's genetic background, which are defined by the term 'nutrigenetics'. The shift towards personalised nutritional advice is a very attractive proposition. In principle an individual could be genotyped and given dietary advice specifically tailored to their genetic make-up. Evidence-based research into interactions between fixed genetic variants, nutrient intake and biomarkers of CVD risk is increasing, but still limited. The present paper will review the evidence for interactions between dietary fat and three common polymorphisms in the apoE, apoAI and PPARgamma genes. Increased knowledge of how these and other genes influence dietary response should increase the understanding of personalised nutrition. While targeted dietary advice may have considerable potential for reducing CVD risk, the ethical issues associated with its routine use need careful consideration.
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