Which metabolites tell your diet?

by | Mar 16, 2020 | Literature, Epidemiology, Nutrition

A Combination of Metabolites Predicts Adherence to the Mediterranean Diet Pattern and Its Associations with Insulin Sensitivity and Lipid Homeostasis in the General Population: The Fenland Study, United Kingdom

The health benefits credited to the Mediterranean diet are commonly known. Eating more fish than meat, avoiding sweets, and drinking wine in moderation have been associated with improving overall health while reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes. However, the mechanism behind these health improvements has yet to be fully elucidated.

In this article by Tong et al., researchers from the UK used targeted metabolomics to reveal metabolites associated with the level of adherence to the Mediterranean diet. Working with a cohort of over 10,000 British patients from 2004 to 2015, the scientists estimated each patient’s Mediterranean Diet Score (MDS) based on self-assessment of their eating habits. A panel of 188 metabolites was quantified in blood plasma samples from the patients and their correlation with MDS and risk factors for cardiometabolic diseases was calculated using a regression model.

Metabolites from several compound classes (acylcarnitines, amines, phospho-, and sphingolipids) correlated well with MDS results. Several metabolites also provided a link between MDS and cardiometabolic risk factors such as insulin resistance, suggesting new mechanistic insights. The authors conclude on the potential use of metabolites as dietary markers and their value to better understand diet-disease etiology.

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Tammy Y N Tong, Albert Koulman, Julian L Griffin, Nicholas J Wareham, Nita G Forouhi, Fumiaki Imamura. A Combination of Metabolites Predicts Adherence to the Mediterranean Diet Pattern and Its Associations with Insulin Sensitivity and Lipid Homeostasis in the General Population: The Fenland Study, United Kingdom. The Journal of Nutrition 2020 https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxz263