This is the metabolic footprint of the Mediterranean Diet
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  • This is the metabolic footprint of the Mediterranean Diet



Researchers from the Rovira i Virgili-IIPSV University , led by Professor Jordi Salas-Salvadó; from the University of Navarra , with Miguel Ángel Martínez-González in charge; and the Predimed consortium, in collaboration with Harvard University and the Broad Institute of the United States , have identified for the first time a metabolomic footprint (consisting of various metabolites circulating in the blood), related to adherence to the Mediterranean Diet. This metabolomic trace predicts the appearance of myocardial infarction and stroke. The work has just been published in the journal of the European Society of Cardiology.

The research team, made up of international experts in nutrition and metabolism, determined more than 300 metabolites in blood samples from 1,859 participants in the Spanish multicenter Predimed study, carried out in patients with high cardiovascular risk who received follow-up for an average of 5 years. and 6,868 participants from three large studies in the United States conducted in the health population (study of nurses and study of health professionals) with a follow-up of more than 15 years.

These participants knew, through dietary questionnaires (adherence scale), their level of compliance with the traditional Mediterranean dietary pattern. The innovation of the study consisted in identifying a set of metabolites, called "metabolic footprint" that were associated with the scale of adherence to the Mediterranean Diet. For this identification, artificial intelligence algorithms were used that identified 67 metabolites. This metabolomic footprint was identified in the Spanish population from the Predimed study and was validated in the United States population. The metabolomic footprint of the Mediterranean Diet includes both intake marker and effect metabolites.


From left to right, professors Jordi Salas-Salvadó, director of the URV Human Nutrition Unit, Miguel Ángel Martínez González of the University of Navarra and Frank Hu, of Harvard University.From left to right, Professors Jordi Salas-Salvadó, Miguel Ángel Martínez González and Frank Hu


This metabolomic footprint is a more objective indicator of the Mediterranean Diet, and when compared to the Mediterranean Diet adherence scale obtained only by questionnaire, the metabolomic footprint in blood much better predicted the presence of diabetes or the levels of some factors of cardiovascular risk, compared to adherence determined through dietary questionnaires.

Most importantly, this metabolomic footprint of the Mediterranean Diet largely predicted the possibility that an individual would develop myocardial infarction or stroke over time, both in the Predimed study participants and in the three participants American studies.

As reported by the Rovira i Virgili-IIPSV University, this is the first time that the metabolite footprint related to adherence to a dietary pattern such as the Mediterranean has been determined. This opens great doors when glimpsing possible metabolic pathways that explain the observed benefits of the Mediterranean Diet on health and disease in many studies. In addition, the identified metabolomic footprint promises to assess in a more objective and understandable way the adherence and metabolic response to the diet, and may be useful in the future to better individualize the diet to be followed for the prevention of the disease.

The researcher Jordi Salas-Salvadó, from the URV and the Pere Virgili Health Research Institute, co-coordinates, together with Harvard University and the University of Navarra, two projects financed by the National Institutes of Health of the Department of Health and Social Services of the United States. This has allowed this important finding among the multiple discoveries reported in the last five years in relation to different studies on metabolomics, cardiovascular disease and diabetes that are being developed in collaboration by researchers from the Predimed study belonging to CIBERobn, different Spanish universities and research centers. from our country with researchers from the United States, led by Professor Frank HU.



Source: Mercacei

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