National Institutes of Health funds $170 million for new study on precision nutrition

The study, which will be called “The Nutrition for Precision Health powered by the All of Us Research Program” (NPH) study, will enroll 10,000 participants from the NIH’s All of Us research program.

The National Institutes of Health announced plans to award $170 million over five years for a new study on precision nutrition. Funding will go to U.S. clinics and centers across the country, with the goal of developing “algorithms to predict individual responses to food and dietary routines.” The study, called “The Nutrition for Precision Health powered by the All of Us Research Program” (NPH) study, will enroll a diverse pool of 10,000 participants from NIH’s All of Us research program.

The All of Us initiative is working to create a health database featuring data on one million diverse U.S. individuals. This data will inform researchers studying how personalized nutrition recommendations can improve health and/or prevent or treat diseases. Existing data from the All of Us participants to be used in the NPH study include data on genomics, electronic health records, family health, and more.

Pending the availability of funds, the $170 million will be divided across 14 awards: 11 new awards as well as 3 existing All of Us research program awards. Centers to be funded include six clinical centers, a dietary assessment center, a metabolomics and clinical assays center, a microbiome and metagenomics center, a multimodal data modeling and bioinformatics center, and a research coordinating center.

“We know that nutrition, just like medicine, isn’t one-size-fits-all,” said Holly Nicastro, PhD, MPH, a coordinator of NPH, in a NIH press release announcing the news. “NPH will take into account an individual’s genetics, gut microbes, and other lifestyle, biological, environmental, or social factors to help each individual develop eating recommendations that improve overall health.”

One of the study’s goals is to address a challenge precision nutrition researchers face: how to deal with diverse factors that affect how individuals respond to personalized nutrition, including differences in microbiome makeup, nutritional status, metabolism, genetics, and environment.

“The way these factors interact to affect health are still poorly understood,” says the press release. “To address these gaps, NPH will collect new data on multiple potential predictive factors and combine it with existing data in the All of Us database to develop a more complete picture of how individuals respond to different foods or dietary routines. By developing this large study of precision nutrition research, NPH will complement ongoing nutrition research efforts across NIH and implement components of the 2020-2030 Strategic Plan for NIH Nutrition Research.”

This is the first independent study to involve participants from the NIH’s All of Us program. In the press release, Josh Denny, MD, CEO of All of Us, said, “The All of Us Research Program was designed to support a wide range of studies by providing the infrastructure for a large, diverse data set that has been previously unavailable. We’re delighted that All of Us has a role in advancing in-depth nutrition research and furthering precision nutrition by serving as a platform for this unique initiative.”