Personalised nutrition

Wageningen also works on personalised nutrition for applications other than sport. As part of the Personalised Nutrition & Health research programme, this is done in collaboration with businesses from various sectors (food, tech, retail, ICT, health). ‘The speed of developments in the high-tech and ICT sectors is lightning fast,’ explains WUR’s Liesbeth Luijendijk, one of the professionals involved in the PN&H programme. ‘Within the field of artificial intelligence (AI), we are working on algorithms that intelligently combine personal data – such as other health measurements – with scientific knowledge about nutrition and health. We are striving to achieve personalised, digital and evidence-based nutrition advice that consumers can rely on. In addition, we are examining consumer behaviour: what message must you communicate and how must it be put across in order to get people to truly improve their diets? The ongoing Personalised Nutrition projects focus on people with cardiovascular disorders, people from lower socio-economic backgrounds and to help employees adopt healthier habits at work.’

Optimal sporting performance

Personalised nutrition as a driver of sports successThe programme Eat2move primarily focuses on athletes, although the results can also be applied to the healthcare sector (e.g. preparation for and/or recovery after an operation). One example of such a project is the Marathon study (in Dutch), which focuses on making professional athletes’ performance levels measurable. The study specifically investigates exercise stress markers (signs of overtraining). Another example is the study into which foods optimally facilitate performance and recovery.

Would you like to know more about sports nutrition? If so, take a look at this MOOC (30 min): an extra instalment of our MOOC series Nutrition and Health.

The collaboration between Wageningen University & Research and Gelderland Valley Hospital is now referred to as the Sport Innovator Centre for Nutritional Status & Health (in Dutch). The two organisations use this centre to pool their strengths and expertise in nutritional science, sleep science, health, and sports medicine to enable optimal sporting endurance and accelerate the development of high-quality, highly applicable and scientifically substantiated knowledge and innovation for the field of sport.

Attention to the theme of ‘Personalised nutrition as a driver of sporting success’ is part of Wageningen University & Research’s broad range of research into Sport & Health. Sport & Health relates to nutrition and performance, sustainable sport and sports accommodation, and the Healthy Active Cities theme.

Drug tests via hair samples

Drug testing is another branch of sport in which WUR is active. For example, research associates at WUR’s RIKILIT institute have developed a method to detect drug use via hair samples. Normally, drug tests focus on blood and urine testing. The advantage of hair samples is that traces of drugs are preserved in hair longer than in blood or urine. Using this method, you can tell within an hour if the subject has been using cocaine, amphetamines or cannabis, and even when they used it.

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