NIHS study into children’s micronutrient supplementation brings us one step closer to effective personalised nutrition

Lausanne, Switzerland 6th Mars 2018.. Vitamins and micronutrients form an essential part of a healthy diet. Scientists have developed average recommended daily intakes for many of them. But we're not all "average". In fact, everyone is unique in terms of diet, genetic makeup and metabolic physiology. So how can we better assess nutrient status and make dietary recommendations at an individual level?

To help answer this crucial question, the Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences (NIHS) conducted a unique nutritional intervention study with the University of Sao Paulo Ribeirao Preto in Brazil using Nestrovit (, a proprietary Nestlé multivitamin/mineral supplement containing approximately 100% of the daily recommended allowances of 12 vitamins and five minerals, for five days a week over a period of six weeks. The results were then analysed to see how the children, aged 9 to 13 years old, responded both individually and as a group. The children who participated to the study had a high prevalence of overweight and obesity with a poor-quality diet that meant many had micronutrient insufficiencies or and a few had deficiencies. The study was then repeated with the same population the following year, to test the replicability of the results. The study showed that the multiple micronutrient intervention improved their metabolic health.

The combination of multi-micronutrients used during the study reproducibly increased the levels of nine key organic vitamin metabolites and decreased levels of three clinical variables such as total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and fasting glucose which are variables often associated with risk of metabolic syndrome and chronic disease These results suggest that one or a combination of vitamins and minerals in the supplement positively influenced metabolism. The results from the first year of the study were also used to successfully predict changes in specific vitamin levels in plasma in individual children the following year (this is believed to be the first such study to predict response to an intervention).

Analysis of the genetic makeup of individuals also demonstrated that those with high percentages of European ancestry had higher TMP (a vitamin B1 metabolite), while those with high percentages of Native American ancestry had lower baseline levels of folate and vitamin B12, suggesting that genetic background influences how we respond to nutrition. "For Nestlé, that might mean we can create products targeting different populations, building on research into nutritional status carried out by colleagues elsewhere in NIHS", explains Jim Kaput, nutrigenomics expert who led the study at NIHS. "By placing the individual in the context of their environment, our work brings us another step towards developing recommendations for optimizing vitamin levels and health parameters for individuals."

The Brazil project, whose findings were published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research(*), was part of a larger NIHS programme on micronutrients conducted and funded by NIHS scientists and collaborators that has so far resulted in several publications on micronutrients, their effects on human health, and the concept of systems nutrition. "Personalised nutrition depends on the ability to predict individual responses to dietary recommendations. I believe our research will help usher in a new era where the complexity of food and genetic differences can be fully exploited to understand and cater for individual nutritional needs at all stages in life", Jim Kaput concludes.

About NIHS:

NIHS is a biomedical research institute, part of Nestlé’s global R&D network, dedicated to fundamental research aimed at understanding health and disease and developing science-based, targeted nutritional solutions for the maintenance of health. To achieve its aim, NIHS employs state-of-the-art technologies and biological models to characterise health and disease with a holistic and integrated approach. The ultimate goal of the Institute is to develop knowledge that can empower people to better maintain their health through nutritional approaches, especially in relation to their molecular profile and lifestyle status.


(*) Mathias MG, de Almeida Coelho-Landell C, Scott-Boyer M-P, Lacroix S, Morine MJ, Garcia Salomão R, Donegá Toffano RB, do Vale Almada MOR, Camarneiro JM, Hillesheim E, de Barros TT, Camelo-Junior JS, Campos Giménez E, Meisser K, Goyon A, Bertschy E, Lévêques A, Oberson J-M, Giménez C, Carayol J, Kussmann M, Descombes P, Métairon S, Fogarty Draper C, Conus N, Colombo Mottaz S, Zambianchi Corsini G, Brandão Myoshi SK, Mendes Muniz M, Hernandes LC, Venâncio VP, Greggi Antunes LM, Queiroz da Silva R, Laurito TF, Ribeiro Rossi I, Ricci R, Ré Jorge J, Leite Fagá M, Gomes Quinhoneiro DC, Chinarelli Reche M, Sozza Silva PV, Lima Falquetti L, Alves da Cunha TH, Martins Deminice TM, Hambúrguer Tambellini T, Arces de Souza GC, de Oliveira MM, Nogueira-Pileggi V, Takemoto Matsumoto M, Priami C, Kaput J and Pontes Monteiro J (2018). Clinical & vitamin response to a short-term multi-micronutrient intervention in Brazilian children & teens: from population data to inter-individual responses. Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, 1700613

Additional references

Höller U, Bakker SLJ, Düsterloh A, Frei B, Köhrle J, Florian Konz TF, Lietz G, McCann A, Michels AJ, Molloy AM, Murakami H, Rein D, Saris WHM, Schmidt K, Shimbo K, Schumacher S, Vermeer C, Kaput J, Weber P, Eggersdorfer M, Rezzi S. Micronutrient status assessment in humans: Current methods of analysis and future trends. Trends in Analytical Chemistry, in press. See our news release.

For enquiries, please contact:
Laura Camurri, Communications, NIHS

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