Sciona study reveals nutrigenetics could secure long term weight goals

By Clarisse Douaud

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Blood glucose levels, Weight loss, Obesity, Nutrition

Nutrigenetically tailored diets can result in better compliance
with weight management goals, as well as longer-term BMI
reduction and improvements in blood glucose levels, says new

Published in the current issue of Nutrition Journal​, the research was funded by international company Sciona and involved a comprehensive three-year study of 93 individuals - divided into two groups - with a history of weight loss failures. After 300 days of follow-up, those individuals in the nutrigenetic group were more likely to have maintained some weight loss (73 percent) than those in the comparison group (32 percent). These findings could pave the way for ingredients formulators looking to tailor their ingredients to the weight management market. "The data from the current study suggest that the use of nutrigenetics to improve and optimize a healthy balanced diet in a clinical setting could be an effective aid in long term lifestyle changes leading to sustained weight loss,"​ concluded the authors. The growing field of nutrigenomics is making inroads into the dietary supplements category - though it is still very much in the research and development stage, or being offered up to consumers by direct marketers. Sciona itself was founded in 2000 and says its mandate is to provide personalized health and nutrition recommendations based on an individual's diet, lifestyle and unique genetic profile. The US weight management market is said to be the world's single largest one. Euromonitor International estimates the US weight management supplements market to be worth $3.93b, while the European market is valued at around $0.93b. The potential for new ingredients, or new ways of using them, looks set to bulge even further given that an estimated 66 percent of adults in the US are either overweight or obese, based on results from the 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). As part of the Sciona study, the participants were divided into two groups - 50 were offered a nutrigenetic test which screened 24 variations in 19 genes involved in metabolism. The results were compared with those of 43 patients in the non-tested group. "Interestingly, the performance of the two groups over the first few months was very similar in terms of weight loss,"​ wrote the authors. "However, after one year, the non-tested control group showed a slight average weight gain while the nutrigenetic tested group continued to lose weight, although at a lower rate than during the first 90 days." ​ Each subject's genetic profile was developed by the use of Sciona's Mycellf kit - a set of tools drawing on the company's proprietary "Rules engine", which it says allows consumers to harness scientific information uncovered in the Human Genome Project. Coordinated by the US Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the US Human Genome Project began in 1990 and has set out to identify all genes in the human DNA and transfer related technologies. Participants in the nutrigenetic group were required to use the Sciona Mycellf kit, which involved collecting cheek cell swabs at the clinic, as well as gathering information as part of a comprehensive diet and lifestyle questionnaire. At the end of the research period, average BMI (Body Mass Index) reduction in the nutrigenomic group was 1.93kg (or a 5.6 percent loss) versus an average BMI gain for the control group of 0.51kg (2.2 percent). In terms of blood glucose levels, among patients with a fasting blood glucose of greater than 100 mg/dl, 57 percent of the nutrigenetic group had levels reduced to less than 100mg/dl after more than 90 days of weight management therapy. Whereas in the control group this stood at only 25 percent. According to the researchers, the blood glucose levels in the nutrigenetic group reflected a return to normal blood glucose levels from pre-diabetic levels based on a genetically tailored diet and exercise program. The researchers concluded that further research is needed. "Although nutrigenetics is not yet a predictive tool to determine which type of diet will lead to greater weight loss for a particular individual, this is an active area of research,"​ they wrote. Source: Arkadianos, Ioannis et al. "Improved weight management using genetic information to personalize a calorie controlled diet." Nutrition Journal​. 2007, 6:​29doi:10.1186/1475-2891-6-29.

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