'A leap forward': ANA proposes definition for Personalized Nutrition

By Stephen Daniells contact

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / AYDINOZON
© Getty Images / AYDINOZON

Related tags: personalized nutrition

The recently formed American Nutrition Association has proposed a definition for “personalized nutrition”, which it says Is necessary for the acceptance, utilization, and expansion of the field.

The definition, which is published online in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, ​states: “Personalized nutrition is a field that leverages human individuality to drive nutrition strategies that prevent, manage, and treat disease and optimize health.”

“Building on the seminal work done by pioneers across many disciplines, this definition can serve as a springboard to embed PN in the healthcare system to prevent, treat, and manage disease, and optimize human health,” ​wrote the expert authors.

The paper is authored by Corinne Bush (American Nutrition Association), Jeffrey Blumberg (Tufts University), Ahmed El-Sohemy (University of Toronto), Deanna Minich (University of Western States), Jóse Ordovás (Tufts University), Dana Reed (ANA), and Victoria Yunez Behm (Maryland University of Integrated Health).

Three elements

The expert authors added that there are three elements, or areas of application, that delineate the field of personalized nutrition (PN): PN science and data, PN professional education and training, and PN guidance and therapeutics.

PN Science and Data​: This builds on knowledge and understanding obtained from observational studies and randomized controlled trials (RCTs) plus data from “citizen science” or crowdsourced projects, explained the authors.

“Emerging and advanced omics technologies also contribute to the robust PN knowledge base. Marrying methods and technologies enables better understanding of the potential impact of nutrition interventions on individuals and groups of people based on pertinent inputs and variables,” ​they stated.

PN Professional Education and Training:​ This brings together traditional clinical care concepts with advanced PN interventions for the promotion of health and the management of disease, said the authors.

“The clinical efficacy of PN requires that practitioners are adequately trained to apply this knowledge in practice,”​ wrote the experts. “PN should be utilized by a variety of healthcare professionals and, thus, training and education should be appropriate to the level of application.”

PN Guidance and Therapeutics:​ This refers to clinical approaches that puts the client or patient at the center of the care process to develop meaningful recommendations.

“In the PN paradigm, health and disease are not viewed as binary, but as existing along a continuum of function. Systems are not viewed in isolation, but in relationship to one another.

“The PN practitioner can map areas of greatest importance across function and systems in order to more fully understand an individual’s phenotype and nutritional needs and advise accordingly.”

ANA: The "tremendous potential" of personalized nutrition must be "catalyzed"

Corinne Bush, MS, CNS, ANA's Director of Nutrition Science & Education and lead author on the new paper, told NutraIngredients-USA that personalized nutrition interventions based on a person’s unique genome, microbiome, biochemistry and more hold profound potential to combat chronic disease and drive optimal health.

"Personalized nutrition is core to human health, yet its tremendous potential must be catalyzed if we are to move it to the core of health care​," said Bush. "As with any nascent discipline, Personalized Nutrition must be further evolved if it is to become a recognized, respected and scalable discipline. 

"As one prong of our work to champion and catalyze the evolution of personalized nutrition, the American Nutrition Association (ANA) convened a group of experts to craft a definition of “Personalized Nutrition”, which we propose to the broader nutrition science community to help forge consensus on the term. This represents a leap forward for the PN field -- defining the term and its contours is a critical step toward embedding it in the core of the healthcare system. It will serve to foster PN standards and scalability in research, data, training, products, services, and clinical practice; and assist in driving favorable policy."​ 

Bush added: "At the ANA, we embrace all stakeholders who are interested in solutions to increasingly complex problems requiring creativity, collaboration and big-picture thinking. The ANA welcomes engagement toward a paradigm shift in the healthcare landscape. With consensus and collaboration among scientists, experts, clinicians, food and health industry leaders, and policymakers, we can advance PN science, train PN practitioners, and enhance access to PN care.

"Building on the work done by pioneers across many disciplines, this definition can serve as a springboard to embed PN in the healthcare system to prevent, treat, and manage disease, and optimize human health."

The American Nutrition Association​ formed from the fusing together of the American College of Nutrition, Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists, Center for Nutrition Advocacy, Accreditation Council for Nutrition Professional Education and American Nutrition Association Foundation. The ANA is focused on personalized nutrition.

Source: Journal of the American College of Nutrition
published online, doi: 10.1080/07315724.2019.1685332
“Toward the Definition of Personalized Nutrition: A Proposal by The American Nutrition Association”
Authors: C.L. Bush, J.B. Blumberg, A. El-Sohemy, D.M. Minich, J.M. Ordovás, D.G. Reed, V.A. Yunez Behm

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