A DNA-Tailored Diet Shows Promise in Managing Blood Glucose and Reducing Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Progression

by Ella

A pioneering trial conducted in the UK suggests that a DNA-tailored diet could offer effective management of blood glucose levels and reduce the risk of progressing to type 2 diabetes among high-risk individuals.

The trial, led by researchers from Imperial College London and DnaNudge, involved 148 participants with elevated blood sugar levels who were at risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2D). The study, published in Nature Scientific Reports, demonstrated that personalized dietary advice based on genetic information, coupled with face-to-face coaching from healthcare professionals, yielded better outcomes in blood glucose management compared to standard dietary coaching based on existing guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in the UK.


Pre-diabetes, characterized by consistently elevated blood glucose levels, presents a reversible condition that, if left unaddressed, can progress to type 2 diabetes at a rate of up to 10% per year. Lifestyle modifications, including dietary changes and increased physical activity, can significantly reduce the likelihood of pre-diabetes advancing to type 2 diabetes.


The DNA-tailored diet intervention in the trial aimed to leverage genetic data to personalize dietary recommendations tailored to individuals’ genetic profiles. This approach considered genetic predispositions to chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and high blood cholesterol. By customizing dietary advice based on genetic insights, the researchers aimed to optimize the dietary intake of macronutrients such as fats and carbohydrates for each participant.


The results of the pilot study revealed significant reductions in fasting plasma glucose (FPG) and glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) levels among participants following the DNA-tailored diet compared to those receiving standard dietary coaching based on NICE guidelines. These positive outcomes were observed over a 26-week period, suggesting the potential effectiveness of genetically-informed dietary interventions in mitigating the risk of type 2 diabetes progression.


Despite the promising findings, the researchers underscore the need for larger-scale trials to validate the results and assess the suitability of the approach for broader clinical use across diverse populations and conditions. The study’s small sample size and preliminary nature necessitate further investigation to establish the efficacy and scalability of DNA-tailored diets as a preventive strategy for type 2 diabetes.

Looking ahead, the research team plans to conduct larger, multi-national trials involving thousands of participants to confirm the findings and evaluate outcomes across different ethnic groups and genders. These efforts aim to advance personalized nutrition interventions and enhance glucose regulation in high-risk individuals, potentially offering a cost-effective and widely accessible approach to diabetes prevention.

While the study was funded by DnaNudge and conducted at the NIHR Imperial Clinical Research Facility at Hammersmith Hospital, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, the researchers emphasize the importance of independent validation and collaboration to ensure the robustness and reliability of the findings.

The study’s lead authors, Professor Chris Toumazou and Dr Maria Karvela, affiliated with DnaNudge and Imperial College London, highlight the significance of personalized approaches in clinical research, underscoring the potential value of DNA-tailored diets in mitigating the risk of type 2 diabetes and improving health outcomes in high-risk populations.



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