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Metabolomics for assessment of nutritional status

Zivkovic, Angela Ma; German, J Brucea,b

Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care: September 2009 - Volume 12 - Issue 5 - p 501–507
doi: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e32832f1916
Assessment of nutritional status and analytical methods: Edited by Dwight E. Matthews and Labros S. Sidossis

Purpose of review The current rise in diet-related diseases continues to be one of the most significant health problems facing both the developed and the developing world. The use of metabolomics – the accurate and comprehensive measurement of a significant fraction of important metabolites in accessible biological fluids – for the assessment of nutritional status is a promising way forward. The basic toolset, targets and knowledge are all being developed in the emerging field of metabolomics, yet important knowledge and technology gaps will need to be addressed in order to bring such assessment to practice.

Recent findings Dysregulation within the principal metabolic organs (e.g. intestine, adipose, skeletal muscle and liver) are at the center of a diet–disease paradigm that includes metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and obesity. The assessment of both essential nutrient status and the more comprehensive systemic metabolic response to dietary, lifestyle and environmental influences (e.g. metabolic phenotype) are necessary for the evaluation of status in individuals that can identify the multiple targets of intervention needed to address metabolic disease.

Summary The first proofs of principle building the knowledge to bring actionable metabolic diagnostics to practice through metabolomics are now appearing.

aDepartment of Food Science and Technology, University of California, Davis, California, USA

bNestle Research Center, Lausanne, Switzerland

Correspondence to J. Bruce German, Department of Food Science and Technology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA Tel: +1 530 752 1486; fax: +1 530 752 4759; e-mail:

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.