With the advancement of metabolomics and genomics, personalized nutrition and nutrigenomics have never been so trendy. If we are what we eat, the healthy path to follow is to eat according to our physiology and gene pools.
Companies such as Everlywell offers at-home tests to detect potential food allergies. However, Lumen is a metabolic tracker that goes one step further. The smart breath analyzer will detect what fuel, carbohydrates or fat, your body is producing energy from and help adapt your diet accordingly to improve metabolic flexibility.
Genopalate baseline is “Eat for your genes” with the ultimate goal of providing diet and food recommendations that will be most compatible with the gene pool.
Genopalate: Quick Facts
Genopalate was founded in 2016 by Dr. Sherry Zhang, a molecular biologist, who in 2017 was named one of Wisconsin’s Healthtech innovators.
Before founding the company with a nutritionist, Matt Edwards, Dr. Zhang worked as an Assistant Professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin specializing in obesity.
According to Dr. Zhang, “everyone should have access to optimized health, and personalized food experience and nutrition is the best path to get there.”
She added that the goal of the company was to empower people with their genetic information and other personalized nutrition data insights to walk into a store or shop food online and know which foods are healthier for them.”
When considering that 30% of individual health is linked to its genetic profile, DNA testing is the ultimate way for providing food recommendations leading to personalized nutritional habits that will fully consider individual genetic makeup.
On December 31, 2020, the Milwaukee-based company raised $4 million in a Series A funding round to expand its genetic testing offer.
What is the Science behind?
Genopalate uses a reference library of more than one hundred genetic variants to influence how food is metabolized. Scientific research is based on correlation.
Research articles strive to find the metabolic effects of various genetic markers. For example, your unique genome and genes influence your phenotypes and how you will react to a particular food.
Genopalate will provide an overview of your optimal intake level for carbohydrates, protein, fat, minerals, and vitamins by combining genetic testing and scientific literature.
Sensitivity to lactose, gluten, caffeine, and alcohol will also be estimated.
Contrary to the Lumen metabolic tracker, the results will provide guidelines and food recommendations overall and will not change over time.
Consider the DNA report as your unique and immutable genetic make-up that nutritional analysis will use to guide your food choices for the years to come.
How does the Genopalate test work?
Genopalate is one of the many companies that offer at-home DNA tests. The process and DNA kit collection are the same. Only the genetic markers and bioinformatics analyses will differ.
This is why it is critical to use the services of a company with an actual vision and commitment. In that sense, Genopalate value proposition is different and is one of the first to offer nutritional genomics information.
The process is standard and follows simples steps:
- DNA Collection: Once a test is ordered on the company’s website, you will receive a DNA testing kit. Just as with the other DNA testing companies, a simple saliva swab is used to collect cells from which the DNA will be extracted,
- The DNA sample is sent back to the laboratory for analysis using the prepaid envelope.
- DNA is extracted, markers tagged with a fluorescent dye, and probed on a DNA-array chip that will then be photographed and analyzed for specific genetic markers known to be involved in chronic metabolic diseases and other food-related conditions.
- The data are then made available in the form of a personalized nutrition report.
The whole analysis process takes an average of 4-6 weeks from the reception of the DNA sample.
What will the Genopalate report tell you?
Before looking at what the Genoreport will tell you, let’s start by what it will not tell you. The numbers of at-home test kits will test for potential allergic responses to food. EverlyWell Food Comprehensive report will analyze 204 potential reactions to food.
Allergic reactions are under the control of the immune system, and DNA analysis provides little value.
The Genopalate results take the form of a 20-page report divided into several sections.
Crash Course in Genetic
In this section, you will learn about the nucleotides or the four chemical bases that constitute the code of life (Adenosine, Thymine, Cytosine, and Guanine.)
You will also learn the basics of the genetic mutations (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism) that will define the genetic variations and dramatically impact food recommendations.
Even though this section is relatively basic, scientifically speaking, it constitutes an excellent introduction to the more meaty parts of the DNA test.
This part of the report is where the DNA test results come into play. The results will show you individual genes, associated SNP, and prevalence. The prevalence of the percentage of such a mutation in the general population is informative.
The various categories of nutrient, macro, and micro-elements are presented to give an informative overall picture of the various food components:
- Substances (caffeine and alcohol.)
Each subgroup will provide diet recommendations based on the individual genetic variations. For example, mutations in the genes ZBED3 and NOTCH2 relate to a regime including “High Fibers.”
The results are easy to understand and actionable, even though we regret that the scientific references are not presented for those willing to dig a little further into the scientific literature.
Your Recommended Foods
This part synthesizes the genetic data to provide a list of recommended foods that will match your individual DNA.
Depending on your nutrient needs, the Genopalate report will suggest a list of foods that match your genetic profile and best fit your metabolic needs.
Personalized recipes and supplements
Genopolate also offers the possibility to order personalized recipes that will best match the nutrients needs exemplified by the genetic analyses.
Food supplements are also available. This is a way to get genetically personalized food products. A lot of companies are surfing on the wave of such food supplements.
In our opinion, they may be a nice add-on, but their scientific value still needs to be proven. Nevertheless, following the list of recommended foods may already be a good start on the road to healthy genetic living.
Genopalate pricing is in line with the other at-home genetic companies even though the number of SNPs is more limited than health-related and ancestry DNA analyses. The essential report comes at $149.95 including the DNA test kit, genetic analysis, and report. For those who have already taken a test with 23andMe or AncestryDNA, the bioinformatics analysis and report will just cost $39.95
Essential Nutrition DNA Test Kit by Genopolate
Price when reviewed: $149.95
Essential Nutrition Report by Genopolate
Price when reviewed: $39.95
Pros and Cons
- Informative and actionable food recommendations
- Possibility to upload DNA results from 23andMe or AncestryDNA to expand the scope of the results
- DNA is processed and analyzed in partnership with a CLIA (Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments) Certified Lab.
- 100 markers may seem a bit limited to provide detailed results, but as science progresses, more will probably be added
- No possibility to upload data from companies other than 23and Me or AncestryDNA.
- No possibility to download the raw DNA data for analysis on other platforms
- Scientific References not included in the report.
To wrap up
Genopalate value proposition is undoubtedly attractive. Genetic testing is now standard practice, and the technology and scientific background are now robust enough to discover new elements to improve our lifestyle.
In the last couple of years, personalized genetic has become a reality. Genopalate does not provide medical advice or results that could be seen as a genetic’s Damocles Sword.
On the contrary, the company offers a reasonably priced holistic approach to nutrition. Even if the results are not 100% accurate, changing for a healthier lifestyle and diet is undoubtedly beneficial and if the genes are in agreement with that, it is even better.