Food Vision preview: London, 1-3 March 2017

Personalised sports nutrition gains another player

DNAFit: 'We report on 45-50 of the most researched gene variants that have a link to exercise or nutrition response.'

At Food Vision in London on March 1-3 ex-Olympian Andrew Steele will explain why he is so excited about applying genetics to dramatically improve the nutrition and performance of sportspeople.

Steele was only recently retrospectively awarded a bronze medal denied him and his three team mates in the 4x400m relay at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games after retesting banned a Russian and his team that took third at the time.

So the potential of better nutrition to help performance – cleanly – is inspiring to the man from Lancashire. But it is not just elite athletes benefitting from the nutrigenomics at the base of the DNAFit business where he heads product development – the firm has already advised 30,000 amateur athletes and is pushing for personalised sports nutrition to go even broader, challenging the food industry to take it seriously.

NutraIngredients sat down with Steele to get a feel for the kind of meal that forms this deal.

What kind of reaction have you had from pros and pro teams?

“We work on a relatively small basis in professional sport, including 5-6 premier league football teams and four large European clubs, along with some individual athletes.”

What about the health & fitness community?

“This is our biggest market, the consumer who is starting to get fit or eat better, or the passionate fitness enthusiast.”

Who is your main competitor?

“There are a number of competitors on the market now [like FitnessGenes – ed.] but I am pleased to say we were the first doing this on a meaningful basis and continue to lead the market thanks to our research-led approach.”

There are a few staple nutrients in sports nutrition – caffeine, protein, creatine, carbbohydrates etc variously for power, endurance, energy, recovery – how does genetic mapping shift this?

“Genetic testing doesn’t change the principles on sports nutrition, which is that certain nutrients will, on average, improve exercise performance or recovery. What we do know is that there is a large individual variation in the response of an individual in terms of improvements following supplementation; some people will see a big improvement, some people will see no improvement, and some people will actually see negative effects with some of these nutrients.

“Genetic testing gives us the potential to determine who these responders and non-responders will be, so that we can personalise their sports nutrition. This can be done by altering the timing or dose of a nutrient. At the moment the research is best for caffeine but also vitamin D; we know that a number of genes impact how much of an increase someone will see with vitamin D supplementation.

“If we expect them to see a small increase, we can give them a higher dose. Similarly, there are genes which impact stress fracture risk; if we find someone has a higher risk, we can increase their vitamin D and calcium intake.”

So there really is enough genetic variety?

“There is a huge amount of variety even if we just look at one gene, called CYP1A2, and caffeine. CYP1A2 is responsible for metabolising caffeine in the body, and we can separate people into two groups; fast metabolisers and slow metabolisers.”

“When taking caffeine before exercise fast metabolisers tend to see a much greater performance enhancing effect of caffeine compared to slow metabolisers. In fact, in one study, slow metabolisers actually had a worse exercise performance with caffeine than when they consumed placebo.” 

Does it open the door to new nutrients in sports nutrition?

“I don’t think it opens the door to new nutrients but I do think it means we can make many more personalised recommendations to people. Whilst we might typically see that a nutrient improves performance – like caffeine or creatine – this isn’t true for everyone – so we can personalise the dose for each person.”

How does the system actually work?

“We report on 45-50 of the most researched gene variants that have a link to exercise or nutrition response. From these we provide a report on the individual to help them use this data to make better informed decisions about their fitness and nutrition choices. Tests range from £99 (€116) to £249 (€351).”

How is results accuracy guaranteed?

“Our lab operates in the accordance with ISO/IEC 17025:2000 and has very strict quality controls in place such as running multiple control samples with every single batch.

Before a gene is included in our report it must pass a strict research protocol as follows:

  • Every variant must be shown in multiple published peer-review studies to be relevant to the section in which we report it
  • These must be on human studies only
  • There must be an easily modifiable lifestyle/environment change a user can take based on the result.”

Are sales coming from beyond the UK?

Yes, we see a very large amount of our sales coming from international territories and we have distributors on the ground in 23 foreign countries.”

Find out more about Steele's presentation and attending FoodVision here.

Related News

With our entry deadline only one week away, remember, you have to be in it to win it!

Last chance saloon: NutraIngredients Awards 2017 deadline extended

© iStock/Artem Furman

Water and acid stable encapsulation backed for creatine uptake

Photo: iStock/gpointstudio

‘Healthy selfie’ culture is changing the sports nutrition marketplace

Photo: wmaster890/iStock

Thyme extract may increase athletic endurance, rat study suggests

iStock / Kagenmi

‘Rogue operators’ undermining growing field of personalised nutrition, warns nutrigenomics author

'We actually don't have a main competitor in this space' ©iStock/kagenmi

Firm champions sports nutrition on another (genetic) level

Log-in to #PNEvent17 for free on 26 January. ©iStock/digitalgenetics

I-nutrition: This time it’s personal

'You plug the smart cap onto the bottle and then you get your personalised and DIY beverage.' ©iStock

Cap winner? Reusable seals offer healthy beverage options

© iStock

Football fuel: Everton renews partnership with The Protein Works

Are you an EU food innovator? Katana wants to hear from you... @iStock/Gajus

€1.2m EU investment fund seeks entrepreneurs hungry for agrifood innovation

'We see blood biomarkers, genetics, and the microbiome as important inputs that will continue to complement one another as more people get sequenced.' ©iStock/kagenmi

Personalised nutrition: Thoughts from industry leaders at HiE

Map My Gut offers paying customers specialist gut microbiome analysis and personalised nutrition advice based on metagenome testing. ©iStock/TLFurrer

'In five years this will be routine': Map My Gut start-up offers personalised microbiome advice

'Personalisation is already being practiced by consumers as individuals in their everyday food choices and it's now evolving to a more technology-based level,' says marketing expert.

P-Fit: Protein market game changer or nice little niche?

Comments (1)

Nutrigenomix Inc - 26 Jan 2017 | 04:55

Nutrigenomix funds research in sports nutrigenomics

Nutrigenomix Inc. is a University of Toronto-based company that's founded by experts in the field of nutrigenomics and personalised nutrition ( The 45-gene test for personalised nutrition and fitness is based on robust scientific evidence and is available through thousands of practitioners in 35 countries. The personalised reports are also available in 7 languages. The company supports ground-breaking research in the field of nutrigenomics and athletic performance. For example, this study that is registered on

26-Jan-2017 at 16:55 GMT

Submit a comment

Your comment has been saved

Post a comment

Please note that any information that you supply is protected by our Privacy and Cookie Policy. Access to all documents and request for further information are available to all users at no costs, In order to provide you with this free service, William Reed Business Media SAS does share your information with companies that have content on this site. When you access a document or request further information from this site, your information maybe shared with the owners of that document or information.