Breathable Lumen to launch in the UK

Nov 19, 2020 7:50am

Welcome to issue Personalised nutrition update issue nr.33

It’s starting to get chilly here in Portugal and I have already pulled out my winter boots. We are super busy with a big update that is coming out soon! so watch this space.
In this week’s newsletter: Latest research, Lumen launches in the UK, are pretty food healthier?, upcoming events.

Research update

A reference map of potential determinants for the human serum metabolome

This review aimed to “measure the levels of 1,251 metabolites in serum samples from a unique and deeply phenotyped healthy human cohort of 491 individuals”. In the study “applied machine-learning algorithms to predict metabolite levels in held-out individuals on the basis of host genetics, gut microbiome, clinical parameters, diet, lifestyle and anthropometric measurements, and obtained statistically significant predictions for more than 76% of the profiled metabolites”. The results suggest that “Diet and microbiome had the strongest predictive power, and each explained hundreds of metabolites—in some cases, explaining more than 50% of the observed variance (…)”

Relation of Dietary Factors with Infection and Mortality Rates of COVID-19 across the World

This global study included around 158 countries, included dietary data from the Global Dietary Databases of the United Nations and coronavirus disease statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO). It aimed to “explore the relation of dietary factors with global infection and mortality rates of COVID-19”. The results have shown that: “(…) the higher intake of fruits and sugar-sweetened beverages had a positive effect on infection and mortality rates by COVID-19, respectively. In contrast, the higher intake of beans and legumes had a negative effect on both increasing infection and mortality rates”.

Gut Microbiota, Probiotics and Physical Performance in Athletes and Physically Active Individuals

This DuPont review provides “an overview of the existing studies that have examined the reciprocal interactions between physical activity and gut microbiota”. It evaluates “the clinical evidence that supports the effects of probiotics on physical performance, post-exercise recovery, and cognitive outcomes among athletes”. It “discusses the mechanisms of action through which probiotics affect exercise outcomes”. The review quotes the most studied probiotics in sports nutrition: Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Lactipantibacillus plantarum TWK10, L. acidophilus, Lacticaseibacillus rhamnosus, Lacticaseibacillus casei, L. plantarum, Limosilactobacillus fermentum, Bifidobacterium lactis, B.breve, B. bifidum, and Streptococcus thermophilus.

Vitamin and Mineral Status in a Vegan Diet

A study carried out by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) aimed to investigate “the dietary intake, basic laboratory parameters, vitamin status, and trace-element status of 36 vegans and 36 persons on an omnivorous diet”. The results show: “Nearly all the vegans and one-third of the persons on a mixed diet had consumed supplements in the previous 4 weeks. Vegans and non-vegans had similar energy intake but differed in the intake of both macronutrients (e.g., dietary fiber) and micronutrients (e.g., vitamins B12, B2, D, E, and K, as well as folate, iodine, and iron). There were no intergroup differences in the biomarkers of vitamin B12, vitamin D, or iron status. The ferritin values and blood counts indicated iron deficiency in four vegans and three non-vegans. Measurements in 24-hour urine samples revealed lower calcium excretion and markedly lower iodine excretion in vegans compared to non-vegans; in one-third of the vegans, iodine excretion was lower than the WHO threshold value (<20 µg/L) for severe iodine deficiency”. To conclude: “Vitamin B12 status was similarly good in vegans and non-vegans, even though the vegans consumed very little dietary B12. This may be due to the high rate of supplementation. The findings imply a need to also ensure adequate iodine intake in the population, especially among persons on a vegan diet”.

 Self-reported health without clinically measurable benefits among adult users of multivitamin and multimineral supplements: a cross-sectional study

This study asked 21,603 US adults about their use of complementary medicine. It aimed “to compare self-reported and clinically measurable health outcomes among MVM (multivitamin and multimineral) users and non-users”. The questionnaires data showed: “Around 4933 individuals said they regularly took multivitamin/ mineral supplements compared to 16 670 respondents, who said they didn’t”. The “regular multivitamin/ mineral supplement users reported 30% better overall health than those who didn’t take them”. To conclude: “These results suggest that widespread use of multivitamins in adults may be a result of individuals’ positive expectation that multivitamin use leads to better health outcomes”.

Technology News

Lumen announces UK launch of metabolism tracker to aid personalised nutrition

The health tech firm Lumen has announced the launch of their personalized nutrition device that can measure the body’s carbon dioxide concentration to determine the nutrient used to produce energy. The Lumen app provides personalized suggestions on when and what to consume to fuel workouts, based on metabolic traits to improve the ability to shift between fats or carbs as energy sources. The portable device and app are now available in the UK.

 Amazon Alexa Getting Better at Guessing Follow Up Requests

Alexa is an Amazon AI assistant that is becoming more intuitive and complete in bundling requests. Available now in English in the U.S, Alexa can guess “latent goals” when customers make a request. For example: “Asking Alexa how long to steep tea could have Alexa guess that your latent goal is to make tea. This, in turn, would trigger an immediate and automatic follow-up response from Alexa like “Would you like me to set a five-minute timer?” Another example can be when asking for chicken recipes, Alexa could follow up with a request to preheat an oven, or, more relevant to Amazon, offering to order the necessary groceries for delivery that day.

 Galmed and MyBiotics pact aims to identify microbiome response to NASH therapy

Galmed Pharmaceuticals and MyBiotics Pharma have announced a partnership. They intend to discover how the microbiome responds to a compound used to treat non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). This partnership will use MyBiotics’ SuperDonor technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered screening platforms to understand how GaImed’s compound, Armchol, models a NASH patient’s gut flora.

Study: Do consumers see ‘pretty’ food as healthier?

Food styling is a key marketing tool to make products, dishes, and meals look more appealing, appetizing, and healthier? This is what the study “Pretty Healthy Food: How and When Aesthetics Enhance Perceived Healthiness” tries to answer. This article aims to investigate how pretty aesthetics (defined by classical aesthetic principles, such as order, symmetry, and balance) influence healthiness judgments. Carried out by 400 panelists in the UK, that were randomly assigned to evaluate the healthiness (calories, fat, and nutrients) of the type of food in its “pretty” and “ugly” presentation.  The findings showed that: “despite the information presented is the same, respondents rated the pretty picture as overall healthier (e.g more nutritious, fewer calories) and more natural (e.g purer, less processed) if compared to the ugly version”. To conclude, the difference in naturalness judgments drove the difference in healthiness judgments.

 Supplier spots opportunity for healthier ready meals

“Innova Market Insights reports an 11% average annual growth in launches of ready-to-eat meals and soups (RTEs) featuring a vegan, vegetarian, plant-based or clean-label claim. The research group has noted 33% growth in global ready meals and soups launched featuring a vegan claim and 14% of global ready meals and soups launches featuring a vegetarian claim in that year”. Cham Foods, an Israel-based global tomato, and citrus powders manufacturer have expanded its portfolio with a new line of dry, ready-to-eat (RTE) pulses and grains for instant meals and soups to fill the demand for a quick, nutritious meal at home or on-the-go for vegan and vegetarians.

 Home Chef enjoys strong double-digit growth, boosts convenience to tackle ‘cooking fatigue’

The pandemic COVID-19 has created new food trends, and with restaurant restrictions, the delivery of meals has been expanding around the world. A good example of this is the Meal kit co Home Chef (now part of Kroger), that has expanded its offering, and now has traditional meal kits that may take 45-55 minutes to prepare, to fully cooked prepared meals that can be microwaved in 2-5 minutes.

 Upcoming Events