We rely on our doctors to heal us when we’re sick, we trust them as a reliable source of sound nutrition advice for preventing illness or getting healthy again after disease strikes. However, most medical doctors in this country do not get enough training in the science and practice of human nutrition.

But now, medical students and doctors can get crucial nutrition education developed by the Nutrition Research Institute.

NRI director Steven H. Zeisel, MD, PhD, and NRI principal investigator Martin Kohlmeier, MD, PhD, have developed online courses for physicians and medical students so they can learn about the impact of nutrition on individual health and treatment outcomes.

To help ensure an ongoing source of scientifically proven nutrition education for your physicians, please consider a donation to the Nutrition Research Institute. Your gift will directly benefit the Nutrition in Medicine and Nutrition Education for Practicing Physicians projects, bringing needed nutrition education to medical students, residents, physicians, and other healthcare providers. These courses have been recommended by the American Society of Nutrition, the nonprofit Bipartisan Policy Center, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, and the American College of Sports Medicine. Chew on that!

I want to ensure doctors are trained in nutrition.

Nutrition Research Institute Shows Choline is Essential to a Normal Diet

November 1, 2016 • Though it’s present in a variety of foods and an essential part of a person’s diet, many people may not have heard of the nutrient choline.

Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Nutrition Research Institute, located at the NC Research Campus in Kannapolis, have studied the impact that diets lacking in choline could have on everything from liver and muscle tissue to brain development.

Do Eggs Cause Heart Disease?

October 25, 2016 • Several recent studies linked increased levels of a metabolic product of dietary choline with higher risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) (Wang et al., 2011; Tang et al., 2013) through a mechanism that involved gut microbiota-produced trimethylamine oxide (TMAO). These studies have sparked considerable scientific (and non-scientific) discussion, with health advice from some groups suggesting avoidance of meat and eggs (significant sources of choline) and from others suggesting that the findings have been vastly overinterpreted.

NRI Researcher Links Choline Deficiency To Impaired Brain Structure

September 21, 2016 • Natalia Surzenko, Ph.D., is part of a team of researchers at the UNC-Chapel Hill Nutrition Research Institute (NRI) located on the North Carolina Research Campus (NCRC) in Kannapolis focusing their efforts on brain development. Her current goal is to determine the role of choline as an essential nutrient for development of the cerebral cortex.

Cheatham Lab’s B.E.R.R.Y. Study Preliminary Results

August 26, 2016 • As we age, we experience gradual cognitive decline as our brains process things slower and our ability to remember things decreases. Blueberries contain anthocyanins, which have been shown to effect the areas of the brain that are related to memory and processing in animal studies. The effect of blueberries on brain function in humans is only now beginning to be tested.

Visiting Scholar’s Research Assists Development of Training Program

August 25, 2016 • The Nutrition Research Institute (NRI) welcomes visiting scholar Rodrigo San Cristobal from the Universidad de Navarra in Pamplona, Spain, who is working with NRI faculty member Martin Kohlmeier, M.D., Ph.D., to develop a certification program in nutrigenetics for licensed healthcare professionals.

The Sweet Reality of Eating Nutritious Fruits

June 23, 2016 • This time of year, fresh fruits abound. No matter whether the fruit you eat is fresh, canned, frozen, or dried, all of the varieties offer a plethora of flavors, colors and, most importantly, health benefits.

NRI presents inaugural short course for nutrition specialists

May 23, 2016 • The UNC Nutrition Research Institute (NRI) holds its first short course in Nutrigenetics, Nutrigenomics and Precision Nutrition, May 23 – 26. This workshop-style educational course features 16 expert-led presentations on an array of topics including “Nutrition and Epigenetics” and “MicroRNA and Metabolic Profiling.” State-of-the-art practice is an important component of the short course. In hands-on sessions participants will learn to analyze and interpret genetic data using PLINK, Harvard’s open-source, whole-genome association analysis software toolset.

Cracking the connection between genes and diet could lead to future heart disease treatments

May 19, 2016 • Understanding the complex interplay of heredity, diet and microbes may one day lead to diets that prevent and treat cardiovascular disease.

According to a new scientific statement published Tuesday by the American Heart Association, cracking the connection between genes and diet could lead to future heart disease treatments.

Study Finds Weight Loss Amount is More Important than Diet Type in Reversing Obesity-Cancer Link

March 28, 2016 • Researchers striving to break the link between obesity and cancer have found in a new preclinical study that significant weight loss through calorie restriction, but not moderate weight loss through a low-fat diet, was linked to reduced breast cancer growth. The preliminary findings (abstract #4321) will be presented from 1-5 p.m. April 19 at the 2016 American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting in New Orleans.

Anti-Inflammatory Diet May Fight Breast Cancer

March 28, 2016 • Promising work is underway in the laboratory of Dr. Stephen Hursting at the NRI to identify dietary interventions that can reduce the risk of cancer. Omega-3 fatty acids are well known anti-inflammatory dietary supplements. Because inflammation is associated with cancer, Hursting is investigating whether these supplements can reduce risk of developing cancer.

Nutrition Roadmap Aims to Advance Research to Provide More Individualized Advice

March 7, 2016 • The Interagency Committee on Human Nutrition Research (ICHNR) released the first Nutrition Research Roadmap designed to guide federal nutrition research. The 2016-2021 National Nutrition Research Roadmap encourages an increased focus on research that can lead to more individualized advice for promoting health and preventing disease.

Nutrient Deprivation Kills Kidney Cancer Cells

February 18, 2016 • The greedy metabolism of cancer cells to target kidney cell carcinomas, which kill more than 100,000 Americans each year, has been exploited by researchers. The team showed that the majority of renal cell cancers rewire their metabolism in a way that leaves them addicted to the nutrient cystine. By depriving the cancer cells of cystine, the researchers were able to trigger a form of cell death called necrosis in tumor cells.


Precision nutrition holds great potential to enhance our ability to prevent, delay the onset, or mitigate the progression of disease and to improve health outcomes. – Steven H. Zeisel, M.D., Ph.D., Director, UNC Nutrition Research Institute

When physicians provide nutrition guidance, their patients have fewer pregnancy complications and give birth to healthier children. – Martin Kohlmeier, M.D., Ph.D., Research Professor, UNC Nutrition Research Institute

Diet is the most significant contributory factor associated with cancer, ahead of smoking, alcohol and family history. – Stephen Hursting, Ph.D., M.P.H., Research Professor, UNC Nutrition Research Institute

Two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, a factor contributing to a variety of increased health risks, including heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

I want to ensure doctors are trained in nutrition.


At the Nutrition Research Institute we’ve dedicated our careers to exploring the potential of personalized nutrition as the key to unlocking optimal health. Every day we roll up our sleeves and mix up how the world looks at healthcare. We’ve even created a training course in nutrition for doctors and medical students so they can help guide their patients to be their healthiest and very possibly prevent illness.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” – Benjamin Franklin