In the brave new world of nutritional genomics, the pursuit of the perfect diet might go something like this: You’d drag a cotton swab across the inside of your cheek, send a saliva sample off to a lab and, within days, get an analysis of a few dozen genes that influence how you process certain nutrients and, consequently, what your risk for certain diseases is. Perhaps you’d learn that you are prone to inflammation or that fatty foods take an unusually tough toll on your cholesterol levels.
Armed with your genetic profile encoded on a credit-card-like chip, you’d head to the supermarket, slip your chip into a “gene-smart” interface, and receive a customized shopping list, complete with functional foods and supplements geared toward your gene type. On the way out, you might even slip your chip into a vending machine, which would mix you up a healthy drink based on your unique DNA.
Sound like science-fiction? Perhaps. But researchers, nutritionists and CEOs in the burgeoning field of nutritional genomics insist that such a day will come. The burning question now is: How long will it take? Or, in the minds of some early pioneers trying to stay in business in a field that has yet to make much of a commercial splash: Why is it taking so long?
Nutrition Business Journal explores this question and talks to Metagenics, Sciona Inc., Interleukin Genetics, Genova Diagnostics and other leading nutritional genomics companies in our annual Nutrition Industry Overview, which publishes in July. To order your copy of the issue or to subscribe to NBJ, go to www.nutritionbusinessjournal.com.