British Journal of Nutrition

Review Article

Personalised nutrition: status and perspectives

Hans-Georg Joosta1 c1, Michael J. Gibneya2, Kevin D. Cashmana3, Ulf Görmana4, John E. Hesketha5, Michael Muellera6, Ben van Ommena7, Christine M. Williamsa8 and John C. Mathersa9

a1 German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbruecke, Arthur-Scheunert-Allee 114-116, D-14558 Nuthetal, Germany

a2 IUNA Trinity College, Centre for Food and Health, St James's Hospital, Dublin, 8, Ireland

a3 IUNA University College Cork, Food & Nutritional Sciences, Cork, Ireland

a4 Department of Ethics, Lund University, Sweden

a5 Institute of Cell and Molecular Biosciences, Human Nutrition Research Centre, Newcastle University, William Leech Building, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4HH, UK

a6 Nutrition, Metabolism and Genomics Division of Human Nutrition, Wageningen University, Bomenweg 2, 6703 HD Wageningen, The Netherlands

a7 TNO, Utrechtsweg 48, 3700 AJ Zeist, The Netherlands

a8 Hugh Sinclair Unit of Human Nutrition, School of Food Biosciences, University of Reading, Reading, Berkshire, RG6 6AP, UK

a9 Human Nutrition Research Centre, School of Clinical Medical Sciences, Newcastle University, William Leech Building, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4HH, UK


Personalised, genotype-based nutrition is a concept that links genotyping with specific nutritional advice in order to improve the prevention of nutrition-associated, chronic diseases. This review describes the current scientific basis of the concept and discusses its problems. There is convincing evidence that variant genes may indeed determine the biological response to nutrients. The effects of single-gene variants on risk or risk factor levels of a complex disease are, however, usually small and sometimes inconsistent. Thus, information on the effects of combinations of relevant gene variants appears to be required in order to improve the predictive precision of the genetic information. Furthermore, very few associations between genotype and response have been tested for causality in human intervention studies, and little is known about potential adverse effects of a genotype-derived intervention. These issues need to be addressed before genotyping can become an acceptable method to guide nutritional recommendations.

(Received October 24 2006)

(Revised December 11 2006)

(Accepted December 19 2006)


c1 *Corresponding author: Dr Hans-Georg Joost, MD, PhD, fax +49-3320088555, email


Abbreviations: SNP, single-nucleotide polymorphism