You’re so unique that it was a one in 400 trillion chance that you turned out the way you did. So, to say the odds that any two people are identical is astronomical. What are the chances, then, that you would need the exact same nutritional recommendations?
Not good, which explains why the one-size-fits-all days of nutritional guidelines are fading. More and more researchers at the cutting edge are pushing for more specificity. That’s why you now see life-stage-specific guidelines. And more personalized health recommendations—the ultimate goal being the right dose of the right nutrients for each individual—are the next giant leap.
That’s why a new study published in Nutrients is so exciting. The study’s research pushes the forefront of nutritional science—getting the world closer to more personalized nutrition. Researchers did this by identifying gender- and age-specific differences in the association between certain nutrients and healthy, normal blood lipid levels. And that’s a part of the puzzle for showing the necessity of personalized nutrition in maintaining your health.
The Basics: What the Study Says
Nutritional researchers dug into the data from a large, long-term, survey study about health and nutrition. Their novel analysis broke down the effects of nutrients on blood lipid (cholesterol and triglycerides, which play a big part of heart health) levels by gender and age.
Doing this provided evidence that food (and the nutrients in it) affects men and women of different ages in unique ways when it comes to blood lipid levels. Most research talked about these links for all adults. But this deeper dive helps push forward the understanding of one aspect of health—blood lipids and, ultimately, heart health.
This study’s approach and results make all the difference for the push for more personalized health recommendations. And what were the results about nutrient levels and blood lipids?
The researchers were able to show distinct groups had different interactions between vitamins, minerals, and levels of triglycerides and both types of cholesterol—LDL the “bad” cholesterol and HDL the “good” cholesterol. That means women of childbearing age from the study showed ties to healthy, normal lipid levels from different nutrients than, say, men 35-64.
In fact, the research is the first to show a gender-specific link between healthy, normal cholesterol and at least one essential nutrient.
What it Means to You
Healthy, normal blood lipid levels are key to maintaining heart health. You know how important your heart is. So, protecting its health, at every age, is a focus of dietary and health guidelines.
The more specific recommendations that could eventually grow out of this research could make more personalized nutritional suggestions for heart-health maintenance possible. And it’s better to know more about the nutrients you need to maintain already healthy, normal levels of blood lipids and support your heart health.
This research represents another step forward in the history of nutritional scientific innovation. One that gets us closer to personalized nutrition that can help each person get exact what they need.
The Scientific Method – Dive into the Specifics
The scientists analyzed dietary data taken from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Study (NHANES) 2001-2013. Included in the study were 6,127 adult males and 6,157 adult, non-pregnant females. First, they broke out nutrient and blood lipid interaction by gender. Then separated the data further by age.
That specificity helped researches uncover their novel results. It’s why this study provides evidence that men and women of varying ages may process food differently. And that results in varying responses to nutritional intake.
But this is just the start. More studies are needed to improve the understanding of how specific nutrients work differently in different subsets of the population. Knowledge generated from this kind of research could lead to more personalized and effective approaches to improving health outcomes.
See the full study here:
Jin H, Nicodemus-Johnson J. Gender and Age Stratified Analyses of Nutrient and Dietary Pattern Associations with Circulating Lipid Levels Identify Novel Gender and Age-Specific Correlations. Nutrients. 2018 Nov 14;10(11).