“We think that personalized medicine is the future of health care. And being a vital part of the health care segment, we thought the supplement industry and Standard Process needed to contribute to the paradigm shift that was occurring,” Michael Scamarcia, head of the commercial innovations department at Standard Process, told NutraIngredients-USA.
The new tool, called NutriSync Assessment, works by asking users to submit a cheek swab sample through the mail that is assessed at the company’s accredited lab. The tool also includes a questionnaire that assesses the participant’s nutritional and exercise status. The goal, the company says, is to target gene/nutrient and gene/fitness associations that studies have shown can influence how much certain nutrients and specific exercises may benefit the individual participant. The results of the assessment can be used to help by patients and healthcare practitioners together to identify and fine tune diet and exercise programs.
“The tool looks at 45 wellness parameters,” Scamarcia said. “It will guide the practitioner to the things that they can correct via lifestyle, diet or supplementation.”
Genetics aren’t fate
Scamarcia said the tool looks at the body’s so-called ‘housekeeping genes’ that regulate basic cellular functions. While every individual has certain set points such as a higher or lower metabolism or a greater or lesser tendency to put on fat and/or muscle, these can be altered with various interventions.
“The genes don’t change, but the expression of the gene may change,” Scamarcia said. “The patient gives us an idea of what they are doing and how they are doing it and how often. If there is any gap in what their DNA analysis shows to be optimal, there will be recommendations, for diet, exercise and supplementation.”
The tool can also be used to help users fine tune their workouts, the company says. The new field of kinesiological genomics has shown how genes may affect overall fitness/health (kinesiogenetics), as well as how exercise may impact gene expression, by triggering certain genes to turn on and off (kinesiogenomics). The NutriSync Assessment taps into this emerging scientific discipline to give users a way to tailor their workouts to take into account their genetic strengths.
Scamarcia said he anticipates the tool will also help drive patient compliance. One of the biggest challenges for the efficacy of a supplement (or a drug, for that matter) has always been to convince consumers of the benefits and to motivate them to comply with the usage instructions.
“We’re hoping it gives doctors, our customers, a new way to connect with their patients. Because it’s genetically based and personalized, we thing long term it will help drive compliance,” he said.