Why personalised nutrition?
by Hugo Jones on Apr 08, 2021
What is it, and how can get you the edge you need?
It’s the future
Whether it’s trainers tailored to your gait or using smart watch data to perfect your sleep patterns, personalisation is the health buzzword of 2021.
It’s the key to reaching peak performance – and at the apex of the trend is personalised nutrition, which experts have called ‘the future of food’.
For a long time we’ve known that what we put in to our bodies affects what we get out of them: good performance is aided by eating well. But in the last decade, the evidence has been piling up that different bodies works best on different fuel, which is why customising your nutrition is key to peak performance.
It’s the ultimate in what’s known as bio-hacking – using information about your body to make it work better. Doctors have recognised the need for personalised medical prescriptions, having discovered that the way the body metabolises medicines differs from person to person and the same goes for your food and supplements.
Properly personalised nutrition will identify not only how your diet affects your body, but how your genetic makeup means you will respond to certain nutrients. For example, studies have shown that where one sportsperson may be plagued with jitters if they consume caffeine, another athlete will thrive and hit their personal best – meaning one-size fits all diet plans or broad spectrum multivitamins are a thing of the past.
It’s a whole new level of self-knowledge, founded in scientific research which has shown time and time again that customised nutrition has a bigger impact on health than trying to piece together a diet plan yourself.
What makes it so special…
Bespoke nutrition is all about working out what’s special about you.
When you think about how much you need of any vitamin or mineral, you probably think of the DRV or DRI – dietary reference value or intake – set by health authorities in the EU and US. These guidelines, found on food packaging, indicate the average amount of a nutrient needed for an average person to remain healthy.
But you aren’t average – nobody really is. So your individual nutrient needs could be quite different from the DRV.
Take vitamin D. It’s essential for energy levels and muscle and bone health, as well as having been discussed as a potential immunity-booster against covid-19. As well as consuming it in our diets, we absorb it through our skin, via sunlight. However, some people are genetically programmed to process sunlight into vitamin D more effectively than others. In winter, the NHS recommends we supplement with 10 mcg of vitamin D a day – a calculation that doesn’t take into account the fact that optimal vitamin D levels may vary for different racial and ethnic groups, as well as among individuals.
In fact, even if you go for a blood test to check for a micronutrient deficiency, you may not come away with the right answer. It’s possible they will find ‘normal’ levels of a vitamin in your bloodstream – but if your body isn’t using it effectively, a ‘normal’ level is not a lot of use to you.
How bespoke can it be?
A lot of products that promise hyper-personalisation just use a questionnaire to ask what your health goals are or what symptoms you want to combat. They’ll then come up with a combination of vitamins that might help you. But really, it’s guesswork – and no better than buying a cocktail of supplements off the shelf yourself. To make a diet or supplement truly personal – and effective for you – you must first take a forensic look at your DNA.
DNA testing can reveal exactly how you process micronutrients and assess exactly where you need a boost. Until now, it’s the kind of health hack that’s only been available to help top-flight athletes reach their peak.
A simple cheek swab done at home, then sent for analysis by NGX experts, can be used to create a bespoke report on how your body is likely to metabolise nutrients based on your genetic makeup. Based on that report, your personalised shake would then be made up with the appropriate ratios of vitamins and minerals to achieve your goals – from improving immunity to sculpting muscle and optimising your performance.
Knowledge is power – and it’s proven that putting that knowledge to use by using a personalised nutrition product makes dietary changes easier to achieve and easier to stick to. It’s a science-backed shortcut to taking your health from excellent, to exceptional.