Have you heard of nutrigenomics yet? If not, you will. Check this out. I learned about this at a food and nutrition conference. You can have a DNA test done (for the low, low price of $495.00) and then have a custom supplement made for you based on 4 DNA markers (for the low, low price of $99 a month).
The company is called Salugen and they currently market DNA-customized nutritional solutions under three brands, GenoTrim(TM) for weight management (http://www.genotrim.com/), SpaGen (TM) for optimal health and wellness (http://www.spagen.com/) and Haveos(TM) for substance abuse attenuation.
I learned a small amount about GenoTrim at the conference. Here is an excerpt from an e-mail they sent me after they swiped my badge. At the end of the post, I offer my own thoughts.
We appreciate your interest in GenoTrim™, the first nutrigenomics product to support weight management efforts through a DNA test and customized, genetically-guided nutritional supplements.
As promised, we invite you to review the clinical studies supporting GenoTrim, as posted on our website, http://www.dnasoa.com/2006/programs.html#si. We test five genes that influence weight and would be happy to discuss possible genetic variations and their respective influences:
- Dopamine D2 Receptor (Sweet Tooth Gene™)
- Serotonin 2A Receptor (Nervous Eating Gene™)
- PPAR-Gamma (Fat Regulator Gene™)
- Leptin OB (Obesity Risk Gene™)
- MTHFR (New Cell Gene™)
GenoTrim addresses underlying genetic factors that affect weight by nourishing your body instead of starving it. GenoTrim supplements contain the right ingredients in the right amounts for your patients. Best of all, GenoTrim is not a medication but a natural, nutritional supplement. Salugen, the creator of GenoTrim, was recently awarded the Bronze Award by the Natural Products Association. The ingredients in GenoTrim are not only natural, they are only purchased from within the United States. The efficacy of the ingredients is not just tested once, as now required by the Food & Drug Administration, but three times. You know your patients are getting the highest quality supplements on the market, made just for them. Our Published Safety and Efficacy of Key Ingredients document is also posted on our website.
GenoTrim is not a “magic pill”. GenoTrim complements healthy eating and regular exercise for a more complete weight management program. We encourage our own GenoTrim clients to see professional assistance through dietitians, nutritionists, fitness experts and support groups to ensure an integrated, overall healthy approach to managing their weight.
So could it be true? Could a supplement customized for individuals really help end struggles with weight or is it just another gimick. You decide. Review the clinical trials. Personally, I think its too early to tell. Here are some of my concerns.
Disclaimer: I did a quick skim of the trials, not an extensive review. I’m hoping some of my smart friends, colleagues or strangers will review them and contribute their thoughts.
- Trials were short duration and small, size designed for rapid results. But what about long term efficacy? Will a person gain weight again if they go off the supplement?
- Not published in big name journals, unsure of their reputation and credibility among a larger community.
- This report explains the supplements that are included and its basically vitamins and minerals in run of the mill vitamins (and food of course). Anyone heard of vitamin C, chromium picolonate, and folate? This could be good news, right? The stuff shouldn’t kill ya. But if there is nothing new, then why does this work?
Finally, what concerns me the most about this is me. I don’t know enough about nutrigenomics to really make sound judgements, but I am committed to learning more. I bought a book by a PhD/RD Ruth Debusk on the nutrition and genetics connection.
I will say this… I always want to have an open mind to all the possibilities out there. Weight management is complex and there has got to be more out there than what we know know about behavior and calorie balance. I have been active my entire life. I’m talking yoga, distance running (including a marathon), weight training… etc. I have a degree in nutrition so I have that part covered. I eat well MOST of the time. (Anyone who knows me will tell you I have an enormous sweet tooth.) And still after all that, my BMI is borderline overweight. As much controversy that surrounds the BMI, that’s still the standard tool. We haven’t been able to come up with anything better. Is personalized nutrition the answer. Is there a future for nutrigenomics? I don’t know, but I look forward to watching it unfold.