Precision-based method best for personalized nutrition

Staying healthy is more important than ever, and maintaining a strong immune system offers the best way to ward off colds and flus.

You’re unique, and so are the needs of your body. In all the world, there’s only one you. Your supplement regimen should be just as unique.

Unlike 40 years ago, when I first entered the supplement space, almost everyone now has some experience with vitamins.

But how do you decide what your supplement regimen should be based on your uniqueness? When you look at the myriad of supplements in the health food store or even the discount stores, how do you decide what you need?  Is there a way to assess supplements without having to subject yourself to expensive tests?

The process is made even more complicated by contradicting information and misleading advertising. Buzz words abound — all-natural, biohacking, certified transitional, clinically studied, grass-fed, organic, pasture-raised, plant-based and sugar-free. But that’s a subject for another column.

Many companies have entered the personalized nutritional realm. There are three approaches to personalized nutrition in the marketplace today: stratified, tailored and precision-based.

The stratified approach to personalized nutrition recommendations is based on shared characteristics such as age, gender or life stage. A limitation of this approach is it doesn’t consider the needs of the individual beyond these limited shared characteristics.

For example, two people might receive the same personalized recommendation because they’re middle- aged women. But one could be a vegetarian who wants to improve her energy level and sleep better. The other is concerned about her family history of heart disease and wants to focus on managing her weight. The stratified approach to personalization does not consider these additional needs. Stratified solutions are generally good for everyone, but not specific or truly personalized to anyone.

The tailored approach is just that — tailored to an individual rather than s group. This approach still has limitations, however. It doesn’t consider the complex relationships between individuals and their behaviors and lifestyles. While individually tailored nutrition recommendations consider all the individual traits about you, they don’t consider how those things come together to make you you.

If you have a history of heart health issues in your family, for example, you might be advised to take additional omega-3s. But what if you eat a lot of fatty fish?  Under the tailored approach, your recommendation remains the same regardless of how much fatty fish you eat. This approach isn’t very personalized, is it?

The most robust and sophisticated way to deliver personalized recommendations is using a precision-based approach. This approach considers all the individual components about you as well as how these things interact and come together to make you unique. The degree of scientific certainty required to deliver precision-based recommendations is much greater than that required for the other two approaches.

If you have a history of heart health issues in your family and eat a lot of fatty fish, your omega-3 recommendation will be modified under a precision-based method. That is much more personalized.

A precision-based approach uses a much more powerful algorithm than can take your responses through as many as 110 million possible combinations of nutritional supplements and narrow it down to one that’s perfect for you.

Most companies offering personalized nutrition solutions deliver recommendations using stratified or tailored approaches. A precision-based approach more closely meets your supplement needs. Consider seeking out a company offering this approach.