Suzan Wopereis, PhD

Senior Scientist
Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO)
Zeist, The Netherlands

image of Dr. Suzan Woperis

Abstract: The focus is shifting from disease prevention to health optimization, but nutrition science has struggled to demonstrate specific health benefits related to diet or dietary ingredients. That’s partly because it’s difficult to measure health status changes in (apparently) healthy human subjects. Health can be seen as a dynamic state in which the ability to adapt can be an indicator of health status.

In daily life, people cope continuously and subconsciously with changes in their environment, including the intake of suboptimal foods or levels of physical exercise. Their ability to adapt can act as an indicator for maintenance or improvement of physiological function. The term ‘phenotypic flexibility’ expresses the cumulative ability of overarching physiological processes (e.g. metabolism, inflammation, oxidation) to return to homeostatic levels after short term perturbations.

This presentation will outline research, focused on assessing objective approaches for quantifying health in diet-related context, and describe the results from studies where we have used phenotypic flexibility as a readout with special focus on metabolic and inflammatory responses.