It's that time of the year when we take a break from our highly popular weekly newsletter and reflect. If you have any feedback or ideas how we can improve and add more value, please let us know by replying to this message.
For the above reasons, you will need to sit down for this blockbuster edition with plenty of news in the industry. As regulation has been the flavour of the past month, we're publishing our latest data brief as well as including the genetic commission report as a resource.
We wish you a great summer, locked-in or not.
Stay healthy and stay happy!
Executive data brief - What does the new MDR regulation mean for Personalised nutrition?
This week we are also launching our Executive data brief, which are our monthly reports that dive into one topic in personalised nutrition. In view of the new medical devices regulation that came into force in May this year, this new data brief written in collaboration with Axon covers this very important topic.
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Primer for the Evaluation and Integration of Dietary Intake and Physical Activity Digital Measurement Tools into Nutrition and Dietetics Practice
This review approaches the need of building a structure for the appropriate use of telenutrition technology in the COVID-19 era.
“This narrative review aims to describe the current evidence on nutrigenomic effects of dietary lipids. Firstly, the different chemical and biological properties of fatty acids contained both in plant- and animal-based food are illustrated. A description of lipid bioavailability, bioaccessibility, and lipotoxicity is provided, together with an overview of the modulatory role of lipids as pro- or anti-inflammatory agents. (...) Finally, the effect of the individual’s genetic make-up on lipid metabolism is described."
This review aims to understand "how foods containing different fibre preparations can be designed to alter functions associated with specific components of the microbiome". In this research, "formulated snack prototypes using plant fibres from different sustainable sources that targeted distinct features of the gut microbiomes of individuals with obesity when transplanted into gnotobiotic mice". These snacks were included in a controlled diet that was consumed by adult individuals with obesity or who were overweight. The results show "Fibre-specific changes in their microbiomes were linked to changes in their plasma proteomes indicative of an altered physiological state".
Association of Vitamin D Receptor Gene Polymorphisms with Serum Vitamin D Levels in a Greek Rural Population (Velestino Study)
This study aimed to correlate serum levels of 25(OH)D3 with common VDR polymorphisms (ApaI, BsmI, FokI, and TaqI) in 98 subjects of a Greek homogeneous rural population. The results show: "Subjects carrying either the B BsmI (OR: 0.52, 95% CI: 0.27-0.99) or t TaqI (OR: 2.06, 95%: 1.06-3.99) allele presented twice the risk for developing vitamin D deficiency compared to the reference allele. Moreover, subjects carrying 1, 2, or all 3 of these genotypes (BB/Bb, Tt/tt, and FF) demonstrated 2-fold (OR: 2.04, 95% CI: 0.42-9.92), 3.6-fold (OR: 3.62, 95% CI: 1.07-12.2), and 7-fold (OR: 6.92, 95% CI: 1.68-28.5) increased risk for low 25(OH)D3 levels, respectively." In conclusion: "[the] findings reveal a cumulative effect of specific VDR gene polymorphisms that may regulate vitamin D concentrations explaining, in part, the paradox of vitamin D deficiency in sunny regions, with important implications for precision medicine."
Dietary fiber intake, the gut microbiome, and chronic systemic inflammation in a cohort of adult men
"In a cohort of 307 generally healthy men, we examined gut microbiomes, profiled by shotgun metagenomic and metatranscriptomic sequencing, and long-term and recent dietary fiber intake in relation to plasma levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), an established biomarker for chronic inflammation". The results show: "inflammation-associated gut microbial configurations corresponded with higher CRP levels. A greater intake of dietary fiber was associated with shifts in gut microbiome composition, particularly Clostridiales, and their potential for carbohydrate utilization via polysaccharide degradation. This was particularly true for fruit fiber sources (i.e., pectin). Most striking, fiber intake was associated with significantly greater CRP reduction in individuals without substantial Prevotella copri carriage in the gut, whereas those with P. copri carriage maintained stable CRP levels regardless of fiber intake".
London-based Personalised nutrition nutrigenetics company just announced they were aquired by Myhealthchecked. The addition of the personalised genetics platform supports the company growth into personalised health and wellbeing.
Pear Therapeutics is a company pioneer on "Prescription Digital Therapeutics", (PDTs). PDTs are designed to directly treat disease, tested for safety and efficacy in randomized clinical trials, evaluated by the FDA, and prescribed by healthcare providers. PDTs are designed and tested much like traditional prescription drugs with one distinction: rather than swallowing a pill or taking an injection, patients are treated with software. Now they have announced "its plans to go public via a $1.6 billion special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) merger with Thimble Point Acquisition Corp. The new combined company will be called Pear Holdings Corp and traded on Nasdaq". The business is expected to close in the second half of 2021.
India’s first AI-enabled Intelligent Virtual Nutrition Coach App “Fitza” officially gets launched in the market
Fitza’s is India’s first nutrition coach in digital form, launched on 22nd June 2021."A human-centered, AI-powered mobile application, Fitza is deeply rooted in delivering personalized and sustainable nutrition plans based on age-old practices, user likes and dislikes, grandma recipes, and natural homemade remedies with proven outcomes and most importantly addressing immunity building. It adapts to your body type i.e. body prakriti and doshas and intelligently changes your meal plan to drive meaningful results".
Lifeboost and Vivaleas Merge to Form Perigon Health 360™️; Coupling High Touch Pharmacy Care with Innovative Technology
"Michigan-based Lifeboost, Inc. and Pennsylvania-based Pharmacy Valeda Rx (a Vivaleas company), finalized a merger on June 3, 2021, to form Perigon Health 360TM, LLC. (...) Perigon Health 360 creates an exciting innovative platform for medicine, transforming how patients and pharmacies interact by coupling innovative technology solutions with high-touch pharmacy services to create a new category: “Precision Digital Pharmacy”. This patient care platform utilizes advanced data gathering to close the information loop by monitoring patient’s real-time medication compliance. This will enable greater collaboration between patients, pharmacists, and providers. Among its many ground-breaking benefits, the patient care platform facilitates and tracks medication adherence, captures digitally generated health data, and uses this information to increase medication adherence by modifying human behavior. The result is unique patient insight, improved patient health, and lower costs for patient plans and providers".
CLEAR. A sensor and an app that helps understanding the effect of food on the glucose levels based on science and self-monitoring technology
Clear is a company that offers insights into the effect of food on glucose levels by the use of a continuous glucose monitoring sensor that is attached to the arm. Composed in three steps, the first step is "The sensor". With the help of Clear's app, the user can track nutrition, mood, exercise, and sleep to understand the natural reactions of the diet to glycemia. This evaluation of how fast blood sugar rises or falls can depend on DNA, microbiome, and the context of the meal. This is unique for everyone, the company defends. In the second step, "Experiment with food", the app will score which food is better for the user, and provide recipes to experiment with. Finally, in the third step "Create your personal nutrition plan", Clear's app saves the user's favorite meals, helping him to build their nutrition plan.
9moons. PRENATAL NUTRITION APP wins PEPSICO greenhouse accellerator award
9Moon is an app that aims to help pregnant women with their diet. Conceived by a team of the world’s top geneticists and nutritionists, the launch will be on 18, July 2021. How does it work? Using the evaluation of a genetic test, the app will identify the pregnant nutritional needs and will provide personalized recipes (according to the users' preferences), advice, alerts, and reminders. The idea is to build a personalized weekly plan in conjugation with a grocery list. The app tracks the food that pregnant women eat, the quality of sleep, mood changes, and the progress of the pregnancy. It also links pregnant women and the physician and OB/GYN to keep them in the loop.
DNALysis launches new DNA Resilience test
Founded in 2008, DNAlysis continues to be a pioneer in personalized medicine services in South Africa. With several genetic tests in their portfolio, DNAlysis provides genetic tests on Nutrigenomics, Pharmacogenomics, Ancestry, and Risk Screening. The biggest value is the highly trained healthcare practitioners network that uses the range of DNA tests to gain a greater understanding of possible lifestyle, supplement, and nutritional interventions that will assist their clients with several genetic-related health concerns.
Germany has the highest prevalence of diabetes in Europe. More than 15 percent of German adults (9.5 million people) have diabetes. A recent study conducted by Technical University of Munich showed that more than half of adults in Germany exercise less than they did a year ago. People living with obesity have gained 7.2 kilograms on average in the same period. Copenhagen and London-based healthtech company, Liva Healthcare has announced that they will extend their human coaching programs to Germany, joining Britain, Australia, Ireland, Holland, Belgium, Spain, Denmark, and Sweden, to help manage conditions such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.
Verdify's mission is to help consumers to make healthy and sustainable food choices, through the world’s first AI-powered platform for fully personalized and shoppable recipes. The Verdify ID is the first personal nutrition profile for consumers that can be used to automatically tailor recipes on any connected website or app. By filling a questionnaire, the Verdify ID will filter the user's needs, and with Swapmeals.com (a personalized recipe platform) the consumers will have access to healthier recipes. Swapmeals is powered by advanced AI, that includes user preferences and intolerances, for example.
“Onegevity Health is conducting groundbreaking Polycystic Ovary Syndrome research to improve the diagnosis process and develop personalized wellness solutions. Onegevity is looking for individuals to participate in the study. Participants (18-40 years of age) will receive a full suite of genomic and genetic tests ($800 in value) and a $50 Amazon gift card for participating in the study.”
Join us in October for the Personalized nutrition and health conference where we are speaking and moderating a workshop.
This report discusses the main opportunities and risks of direct-to-consumer genomic tests in more detail, and the available evidence for both. It recommends that the Government requires direct-to-consumer tests to be subject to greater pre-market assessment by an external body, and proposes that the Government should work with Genomics England and the NHS to define clear technical standards for direct-to-consumer genomic testing. If met, would enable the genomic data generated by the test to be used and trusted by Genomics England and the NHS.
Food & Consumer Trends
Recipe for success: How retailers and consumers goods companies can further encourage healthier living
"The CHL initiative brings together a network of manufacturers, retailers, public health authorities, and local communities that collaborate to make it easier for people around the world to adopt healthier lives for themselves and their families, by making healthier decisions easier and habitual. Over the past three years, CHL has launched more than 70 local programs across a dozen countries". Now, they have evaluated their nutritional educational programs, and the results are described in the report "Helping Consumers Make Healthier Choices How The Consumer Goods Forum’s Collaboration for Healthier Lives coalition can build on its successes". This research found four key success factors that manufacturers, retailers, and other coalition participants should consider when designing collaborative programs to drive healthier lives:
1) "Build programs that are ideally personalized;
2) Anchor the program in locally relevant health objectives, and leverage resources from elsewhere when practical;
3) Alter the consumer and shopper environment so that healthier choices become the default for consumers while remaining commercially viable for participating companies;
4) Ensure that impact can be measured against a clear definition of success"
According to the report IFIC Survey: From “Chemical-sounding” to “Clean”: Consumer Perspectives on Food Ingredients, conducted from May 6th to May 10th, 2021 on 1,054 adults through online interviews:
- "Nearly 2 in 3 (63%) say that ingredients have at least a moderate influence on their food and beverage purchases;
- When shopping, on-package ingredient information sources are far more popular than online sources and personal contacts;
- Most people say they’re paying more attention to ingredient lists, choosing clean ingredients, and avoiding chemical-sounding ingredients;
- Nearly half of “clean eaters” define the term as eating foods that are not highly processed; fresh produce, organic and simple ingredients lists also rank high;
- Seeking out health benefits is the top motivator for choosing foods and beverages with clean ingredients".
What food trends will stick post-COVID? ‘The world’s going to become more demanding than it was during the pandemic’
Which of the many new consumer behaviors will stick as the world begins to emerge from lockdown?
1) E-commerce: "We've seen an acceleration of the channel shift. We expect that acceleration to largely continue [as restrictions ease]. So most of the growth to stay - maybe a little bit of a pullback - and then continued growth from that point"
2) Healthy, sustainable, affordable home-cooked meals: "Trends that have been prevalent prior to the pandemic really accelerated because of the pandemic ... Health really accelerated and amplified as a consequence of the COVID pandemic".
From sustainability to mindfulness: How holistic health is propelling the ‘low and no alcohol’ trend
A generation shift is in place, with 86% of the millennials and Gen Z populations perceiving that mental health is as important as physical health. The reduction of alcohol intake can provide an opportunity for drinkers to improve physical wellbeing, mental health, and the health of the planet. "Low and no alcohol" products are more acceptable these days as a moderation technique, same as the "Drinkaware" platform. The motivation to be healthier and the Earth's sustainability issue can be a shifter as consumers buy according to their emotional values.