Can you really eat for your genes?

Oct 19, 2020 11:00pm

Personalized Nutrition Update issue nr. 29/20 
I am nearly ready to take a breather from all the last few Personalized nutrition events, but it has been such a blast! The interest in health, personalization and especially food has really been a mindset shift across the globe, but we also have to be mindful that food security is increasingly a risk for many.

In this week’s newsletter: Latest research; MyAir develops personalized nutrition solution; Dacadoo and Microsoft join forces; Tivity health sells nutrition business; Wholefoods releases top trends and upcoming events.

Stay healthy and stay safe




Research update

Gut bacterial taxonomic abundances vary with cognition, personality, and mood in the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study

This study aimed to associate the gut microbiome with dementia, depression, and personality traits. The researchers analyzed fecal samples from 313 participants in the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study. A randomly selected population-based cohort of older adults, with measured psycho-cognitive dimensions (cognition, mood, personality) and key confounders. The “16s V4 sequencing showed that Megamonas is associated with all measured psycho-cognitive traits, Fusobacterium is associated with cognitive and personality traits, Pseudoramibacter_Eubacterium is associated with mood and personality traits, Butyvibrio is associated with cognitive traits, and Cloacibacillus is associated with mood traits”.

 You may also be interested in reading this article: Moving Beyond Microbiome Testing

Using the Google Trends tool, this study aimed to “obtain worldwide relative search volumes (RSVs) covering a timeframe from before the COVID-19 pandemic 1 June 2019 to 27 April 2020.” It evaluated how the pandemic is affecting our dietary and lifestyle-related behaviors on a global level. The results have shown that during the COVID-19 lockdown period between March and April 2020, the keywords most searched were “(1) food security (food shortage, food bank and free food), (2) dietary behaviors (delivery, restaurant, take-away, and food-delivery), (3) outdoor-related behaviors (resort, hotel, cinema, park, fitness, gym; plant, sunbathing, and online), (4) immune-related nutrients/herbs/foods (vitamin C, vitamin A, zinc, immune, vitamin E, garlic, omega-3 fatty acid, vitamin D, and turmeric)”. In conclusion, “Restricted movement has affected peoples’ dietary and lifestyle behaviors as people tend to search for immune-boosting nutrients/herbs and have replaced outdoor activities with sedentary indoor behaviors”.



This review aimed to “discuss direct to consumer genetic testing (DTC-GT) and the current potential for precision nutrition based on an individual’s genetic data”. It looks at “important issues such as dietary exposure and genetic architecture addressing the concepts of penetrance, pleiotropy, epistasis, polygenicity, and epigenetics. More specifically, using genotypic data to predict phenotypes as well as response to dietary interventions”.


This study aimed to explore the association between fecal microbiota (mainly Bifidobacterium and Clostridial group) and serum cholesterols (total cholesterols, low and high-density lipoprotein cholesterols (LDL-C and HDL-C) in 16 healthy men. To determine the potential of fecal microbiota as a non-invasive alternate predictor of serum cholesterol. The results have shown, “For every two-fold increase in fecal Bifidobacterium, geometric mean of LDL-C increases by a factor of 1.23 whilst that of HDL-C increases by a factor of 1.07. For every two-fold increase in Clostridial group (C. ramosum, C. spiroforme and C. cocleatum), the geometric mean of HDL-C decreases by a factor of 1.10. No association was found between total bacteria and serum cholesterols.”


Technology News

PHA, PMA tackle food insecurity due to coronavirus with expanded Fresh Picks produce boxes

The coronavirus pandemic has created a global economic impact. Food insecurity has been a major concern in the last few months, with families struggling to eat complete meals. In a duel effort to ease food insecurity and create a new market for products that might otherwise be wasted, a partnership for a Healthier America and the Produce Marketing Association have expanded their COVID-19 Fresh Food Fund. The fund will make discounted boxes available (in Denver, Rochester, New York) of high-quality fruit and vegetables, to families struggling with access to sufficient food.  The consumers will have free access to the Foodsmart digital platform. This includes personalized nutrition insights, recipes, and discounts on other grocery items.

Caliber, with $2.2 million in seed funding, launches a fitness coaching platform

Caliber is a startup that focuses on one-to-one personal training, acting as an “online personal trainer”. The users on the app are matched by a Caliber coach who “takes into account the goals of users and builds out a personalized fitness plan in conjunction with the user, which begins with a video or phone consultation. Once the plan, which consists of strength training, cardio, and nutrition, is finalized, the coach loads it into the app”. The users follow the plan via the app and log their progress. The big difference from other fitness apps is that these aren’t live video appointments. They are ongoing conversations with the coach that is facilitated by the app. The “users can also integrate their Apple Health app with Caliber to track nutrition and cardio, giving the coach a full 360-degree view of their progress”.


Book a demo for our Personalized Nutrition Platform



myAir Develops AI-Powered Personalized Nutrition to Help Consumers Manage Stress

Stress is linked to the six leading causes of death in the world and it is demonstrated in many facets. To help the population manage their stress, the personalized nutrition start-up myAir Ltd, has launched a series of personalized plant-based bars. By developing “a patent-pending algorithm based on physiological and psychological data, myAir’s online questionnaire creates deep profiling of an individual’s cognitive response to stress (…) the company’s algorithm processes this data, then customizes a combination of myAir bars to your needs from a wide range of formulas. The personalized combinations are available through a subscription service and delivered monthly to the consumer’s doorstep (…) Each bar is composed of a blend of nuts and fruits, and infused with a unique, research-based proprietary formula of bioactive botanical extracts. These include extracts from sage, hops, oats, valerian, rosemary, and others. They work synergistically to exert a specific stress-countering effect, whether to sharpen focus, revive energy, reduce anxiety, support relaxation, promote quality sleep and more”.


RB Steps Up Investment In AI Symptom Checker

Your.MD is a symptom checker and health tracking app that is expanding to other parts of the globe. Founded in 2015, Your.MD claims to be the first company to combine augmented intelligence with medically validated information, giving individuals personalized and relevant health tools and support to enable them to self-care.


Dacadoo and Microsoft join forces

The Health Score platform that dacadoo launched, has had a huge impact on the global Life and Health insurance industry. It has collected over 300 million people's clinical data, making it one of the world’s largest health datasets. It works by integrating any health tracker, biosensor, or medical system, giving a Health Score in real-time.  Two other services, launched by dacadoo: the AI-based Lifestyle Navigator, contains 4,000 healthy living rules on things like activity, stress, sleep quality, and nutrition. The other, the Risk Engine, calculates the probability of both morbidity and mortality. Now, these services provided by dacadoo are available in Azure, a Microsoft cloud that guarantees security and confidentiality.


Tivity Health Announces Sale of Nutrition Business

Tivity Health® is a leading provider of healthy life-changing solutions, including SilverSneakers®, Nutrisystem®, Prime® Fitness, Wisely Well™, South Beach Diet®, and WholeHealth Living®. Kainos Capital is a middle market private equity firm with an exclusive focus on the food and consumer products sectors. The firm’s strategy is to build a diversified portfolio of growing and strategically relevant food and consumer businesses that trade buyers would like to acquire. They will acquire Tivity Health’s Nutrition Business, which includes Nutrisystem® and South Beach Diet®, for $575 million.


Contribute to Nutr i MDEA study

Do you think you already know how to eat well? This survey tells you where you should improve

“The Madrid Institute for Advanced Studies in Food of the Community of Madrid (Imdea-Alimentation) has launched a survey for World Food Day with the aim of giving personalized results to its participants about their nutritional habits. The questionnaire is part of the study NutriMDEA, which seeks to categorize the population according to their nutritional habits. The objective is to give guidelines to improve the way we eat, personalized to each participant. (…) The survey contains general questions about the respondent’s habits, their perception of health and their diet”.


Is the coronavirus accelerating the growth of plant-based meat?

This article looks at the growth of the plant-based meat market before and after the COVID-19 pandemic: “According to Nielsen, sales of fresh plant-based meat alternatives have nearly doubled every month this year. In March, grocery stores sold 231% more fresh plant-based than a year prior. IRI data analyzed by The Good Food Institute saw an even larger increase, with plant -based meat sales 454% higher than the previous year the week of March 21.”

Whole Foods Market Forecasts Top 10 Food Trends for 2021

Wholefoods has just released their top 10 trends which are actually a great read. From wellbeing products, to epic breakfasts, diversified baby foods, and upcycled foods, the interest in real food has certainly reached a high.


#WorldFoodDay 2020: Reducing 25% Of Global Food Waste Will Eliminate Hunger & Starvation

Following the major tendency of Food Sustainability, World Food Day 2020 is a crucial time to highlight how each of us can help:
– Supply Chain Challenges: approximately 14% of the food produced for human consumption is lost each year before it reaches the market. New tools and technologies are allowing for better monitoring of food during transportation, and helping to keep grocery stores, restaurants and other food service vendors up to date on food quality.
– AI & Solving Food Waste on Shelves: “The necessary artificial intelligence tools already exist to help grocery stores, retailers, and other foodservice vendors cut down on food waste (…) for example, adjustment of temperature, air quality, and humidity for the produce in the area, along with learning consumer foot-traffic and economic patterns to encourage purchase before waste occurs.”
– Partnerships & Solving Food Logistics: Partnerships among growers, packers, processors, retailers, and logistics providers are required.  One example of this is the Childhood Foundation that has distributed more than $26 million in grants to national and local nonprofits that provide joy to kids battling hunger and illness.
– A Call to Action – Help End World Hunger Now: “(…) so much food waste continues to happen in the home. If we collectively work together to ensure that 25% of all food lost today was consumed, it would be sufficient to feed 870 million people, 12% of the world’s current population.”