Genetic test could provide insight into supplementation needs

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Oxidative stress Nutrition

Interleukin Genetics – a genetic testing company – has updated its nutrition risk assessment test, designed to gauge an individual’s vitamin B metabolism and oxidative stress levels.

The company said the test, which works by measuring genetic predisposition to given parameters, allows consumers to determine whether they may improve their wellbeing by supplementing their diet with specific nutrients.

The General Nutrition risk assessment test identifies gene variations that could negatively affect a consumer’s ability to process necessary nutrients – in this case vitamin B and antioxidants. It then highlights nutritional modifications that can be made in order to improve the person’s overall health and wellness.

According to the company, this type of genetics testing can also be employed by the food and supplements manufacturing industries in their research and product development process.

Interleukin also partners with companies for the development of products in the field of nutrigenomics, which explores the intersection between genetics and nutrition.

“With the information our products provide, we believe that health outcomes can be dramatically improved. We look to partner with companies developing supplement products or drug products to improve the way those companies' products achieve wellness and better health,”​ said the firm.

Why vitamin B… And why genetics?

Interleukin’s chief executive officer Lewis Bender said the firm has focused on vitamin B and antioxidants due to their importance for general health and wellness.

“Both B-vitamins and oxidative stress play important roles in overall health and wellness and have been linked to risk for certain diseases and cancers,”​ said the company.

According to Bender, genetic testing provides a more accurate long-term understanding of people’s nutritional needs than a classic blood test, which can only reveal nutritional deficiencies at any one time.

“Blood tests are very useful, but do not provide any long-term outlook or propensity for the person to manage their wellness on a chronic basis. However, we provide our customers information on whether or not there is a potential deficiency or suboptimal use of antioxidants or B vitamins based on their genetics. We believe this provides a long-term perspective for the individual with regard to their health management,”​ he told

Managing aging

The company said this testing method is particularly useful in managing chronic diseases associated with aging, which are governed in their timescale by genetics and lifestyle. These include cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and Alzheimer's disease.

“Understanding who is likely to progress rapidly in various diseases so that intervention could occur earlier in the disease or aging processes can be of major benefit.”

How does it work?

The company explained that its General Nutrition test configuration is based on scientific analysis that identifies DNA variations in two genes important to B-vitamin utilization and four genes important in managing oxidative stress.

“When we conducted a review of the available scientific literature on genetics and nutrition, we felt that the most credible information with regard to large and replicated scientific studies involved the six genes we identified for this test,”​ said Bender.

“Individuals that show suboptimal variations of the genes tested for B-vitamin metabolism may experience greater health benefits by adding more vitamin B to their diet. In addition, results indicating suboptimal ability to manage oxidative stress suggest that an individual may be at increased risk for cell damage.”

The test, which is said to be “user-friendly”,​ provides consumers with a risk assessment report as well as information and recommendations regarding beneficial dietary modifications.

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