Personalized nutrition tests aim to identify micronutrient and vitamin deficiencies

Personalized nutrition is of utmost importance, especially for athletes. Now a newly formulated blood test and food questionnaire combo has been developed to ensure the achievement of certain nutritional goals. It’s a system called NutriProfiel, and it has been devised to show clear links between levels of folic acid and vitamins B6, B12, and D to a patient’s dietary habits. It’s applicable to not just athletes but to regular individuals as well.

The reason why NutriProfiel was formulated was because vitamin tests can be inadequate in terms of accurately measuring a person’s actual nutritional needs. Sure, they can be used to measure a person’s existing micronutrient and vitamin deficiencies based on quick blood tests, but even after you do find a deficiency, you would still have to identify its root cause. It’s still pertinent to get in touch with an actual nutrition expert in this regard and not just rely on the knowledge of the doctor that conducted your blood test.

NutriProfiel was developed jointly by nutrition researchers from the Wageningen University & Research (WUR) and Gelderland Valley Hospital (GVH) in Ede, as part of their effort to form the Healthcare Nutrition Alliance. It’s comprised of a blood test and a so-called Eetscore questionnaire, which was developed specifically for the system by WUR. This combination is what allows the system to make clear comparisons of a patient’s diet to their blood test results.

According to┬áMichiel Balvers, a research associate that works in both WUR and GVH, the value of the system lies in its ability to cover all bases and ensure maximum nutrient proficiency in individuals. “Imagine your blood tests identify a vitamin deficiency, yet examination of your diet suggests there shouldn’t be a deficiency. In such cases, something else might be wrong, for example, intestinal problems that prevent your body from absorbing vitamins properly,” he explained.

Balvers further added, “This extra information about the deficiency can provide valuable extra information for both sports doctors and regular doctors in determining the right course of subsequent action.” He also points out that certain deficiencies can also be caused by insufficient levels of nutrients in a person’s diet, which is something that can be easily remedied if and when the information comes to light.

Apart from simply analyzing the results of the tests, the team of researchers behind the system also offer personal nutritional advice, which is actionable. They go over how consumers or athletes can overcome their micronutrient and vitamin deficiencies, as well as how to prevent them from re-occurring in the future. “In some cases, a temporary course of vitamin supplements may be required to resolve the deficiency,” explained Balvers. “However, in the long run, healthy nutrition is the main factor.”

Certified healthcare professionals have a lot to gain from using the NutriProfiel system. It is said that it will allow them to easily give out personalized nutritional advice to patients, and all of the relevant data will be saved automatically in an electronic patient file. The best part is that vitamin tests with NutriProfiel don’t cost extra money, apart from what it costs to take a regular blood test. It’s also possible to request for a test on your own without ever seeing a doctor, and pay for it directly out of your own pocket.

With the information that the NutriProfiel system brings, the researchers believe that patients may be encouraged to improve their diets in order to solve any and all underlying issues. At the very least, they’re hoping that it would urge patients to start a conversation with physicians to potentially figure out other causes for deficiencies that are detected, if any.

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