On the supplier side, BASF Corp. is paying close attention to the field of personalized nutrition and the science behind it, including nutrigenetics. The company offers its Newtrition line of ingredients for supplement brands. The Newtrition line includes, among other ingredients, Tonalin CLA, which the company states on its website is “clinically shown to help reduce body fat up to 10%, while increasing lean muscle mass and preventing fat regain.”
John Helfrick, director, Human Nutrition, BASF Nutrition & Health, North America (Florham Park, NJ), says that BASF “realizes the importance personalized nutrition will have on demand and will continue to innovate with [companies ranging from] startups to major brand owners to support the science and develop novel ingredients to meet evolving needs.” He continues, “Personalized nutrition offers tremendous opportunities for marketers and manufacturers, and BASF will continue to work with them to differentiate their health-enhancing products.”
Opinion is mixed on how much nutrigenetic evidence is required to personalize an individual’s diet and supplementation for weight management, cardiovascular health, and other concerns. “I certainly think there are personal-nutrition recommendations one can give for obesity or heart disease or cholesterol, et cetera,” says Allayee. “But we haven’t figured out which ones those are yet.” Certain recommendations “are not yet ready for prime time,” he adds.
Ordovás says of nutrigenetics in general and weight management in particular, “FTO is one of many genes involved. We need to pool the information from different genes in order to achieve practical solutions.”
And Allayee concludes, “I would say to supplement makers and functional-food brands that clearly there could be very important clinical applications for this field. We’re not at that point yet, but if you are interested in it, then please get involved. Support the academic teams studying nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics; invest in advancing the science.”
El-Sohemy offers a different, perhaps less-conservative perspective: “There’s always the need to say that we need to learn more, and we need to do more research. I agree. But, there comes a time where we need to ask, ‘How much more evidence do we need?’ We currently give advice on what to eat, which is based on ‘old’ science from ten to twenty years ago. If we now have science that enables us to provide better advice for individuals—not just one-size-fits-all for the entire population—then shouldn’t we do that?”
Sidebar: Industry Welcome at Annual ISNN Congress
The 11th Annual Congress of the International Society for Nutrigenetics/Nutrigenomics will take place September 16-19, 2017, in Los Angeles. “It’s meant for scientists, clinicians, and registered dieticians, but we also want industry participation,” ISNN President-Elect Hooman Allayee, PhD, explains, “because industry has to look at where the science is and be aware of it.”
More information is available at ISNN’s 11th Annual Conference website, www.nutritionandgenetics.org/ISNN2017.
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