20th Century science is simply not equipped to deal with many of the complex challenges facing society. Modern dietary patterns are reflective of changing consumer preferences, market forces, and one-size-fits-all or fad-diet recommendations have, in many cases, conspired to promote excess caloric intake and elevated blood glucose, leading to epidemics of obesity and diabetes. These nutrition, diet, and lifestyle-related epidemics, while pervasive across western countries are even becoming more common in low- and middle-income countries where the double burden of over- and under-nutrition are taking place simultaneously. This brings us to a new era of precision nutrition, where individualized diagnosis and treatment plans are the norm.
BioAnalyt’s new line of products in development, iCheck Health, provide point-of-care diagnostics which integrate the measurement of various biomarkers simultaneously from a single blood sample. iCheck Health combines proven technologies for absorption and fluorescence (the methods our other iCheck products use), dry chemistry, and antibody methods into a simple and rapid device to assess health and nutrient status without the laboratory. Products under the iCheck Health banner will be able to simultaneously measure multiple biomarker indicators in different combinations to be most relevant to specific target groups, including individuals with diabetes, hypertension, anemia, and other dietary and nutritional deficiencies; those who are overweight or obese, elderly, or pregnant; and those who have specific nutritional requirements or interests due to athletic needs or corporate or insurance-related incentives. iCheck Health is designed to be a customizable and versatile diagnostic tool, combining the right biomarkers of interest for the right target groups.
Our first iCheck Health product, iCheck Anemia, will be ready for demonstration in early 2020. This tool will combine measurements for hemoglobin and zinc protoporphyrin, which will help not only to diagnose anemia, but also to determine attribution to iron deficiency. This will ensure diagnosed individuals are offered an optimized treatment plans that meets their precise needs. iCheck Anemia will be useful for nutrition status surveys in low- and middle-income countries as well as in clinical and other point-of-care settings globally.
BioAnalyt’s Anna Zhenchuk recently attended several personalized nutrition events in London and Wageningen, discussing the current evidence for the potential of point-of-care diagnostics to change nutrition behaviors and to help healthcare providers provide precise and individualized nutrition information to prevent, manage, and treat associated nutrition and diet-related disorders. The field of personalized nutrition is very young still and these events highlighted the work still to be done to generate evidence for nutrition-related decision-making at the individual level. Nutrition and diets are critically linked to cultural and lifestyle factors, so much work still needs to be done to better understand consumer behavior before being able to suggest the most relevant dietary improvements and those most likely to succeed over the long-term.
One of the biggest challenges yet to be solved is the outcome of precision nutrition. In other words, once an individual has been diagnosed and/or provided customized and personalized recommendations, there is a challenge in translating such recommendations to lifestyle and dietary changes which are easy to implement and compelling to sustain. Delivering consumer customized supplements, foods, and meal plans tailored to our individual dietary needs, like one would see on Star Trek, is still some years away, but we are optimistic that iCheck Health can be part of the solution!
We look forward to sharing more about iCheck Health as our prototypes near development, so stay connected for our future updates!