Designer Supplements v. Flawed DNA
Posted Thursday, September 4, 2008

As we mentioned in the blog earlier this month, breakthroughs in DNA sequencing are beginning to influence developments in the field of supplements, affording companies the possibility to develop personalized vitamins. One of the first companies to actually put this into practice is GeneWize Life Sciences, and there is a nice profile of their mission up now on the Rocky Mountain News website.

The process for such an endeavor is truly exciting, even if it is in its infancy stages. Potential clients swab their cheeks for DNA and mail it to a testing laboratory, where their genetic makeup is examined to determine what optimal supplement treatments should be.

Some of that DNA is examined, in particular 12 of the 25,000 genes that make up the long DNA molecule. Analysts search for breaks in the normal genetic pattern in certain genes that are connected to health and disease. The base pairs on the gene of the double-helix-shaped DNA send signals to amino acids to build proteins. If the base pairs are out of sequence just a little bit on certain genes, it could foul things up - not necessarily a great deal, but enough to make the person more vulnerable to certain diseases. An abnormal pattern in a person's gene, called a polymorphism, might be shared by 1 percent or 2 percent or 5 percent of the rest of the population. In those cases, the gene can signal the body to make too much, or too little, or the wrong kind of a protein that is key to promoting or protecting against a malady.
Once this data has been analyzed, the appropriate adjustments to daily supplement intake can be adjusted. As the cumulative science behind this process grows, we will be seeing more growth in this direction, as well as more personally tailored and effective supplements.



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