`Blood Test Determines Adherence to Med Diet, Cardiovascular Risk - Olive Oil Times

Blood Test Determines Adherence to Med Diet, Cardiovascular Risk

Jun. 10, 2020
Julie Al-Zoubi

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Researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health have iden­ti­fied a meta­bolic sig­na­ture that can reli­ably mon­i­tor an individual’s adher­ence and meta­bolic response to the Mediterranean diet (MedDiet). The sig­na­ture can also pre­dict a patient’s future risk of car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease (CVD).

The meta­bolic sig­na­ture made up of 67 metabo­lites (small mol­e­cules pro­duced by dif­fer­ent meta­bolic processes) was con­cluded to be a reli­able indi­ca­tor of whether or not a per­son had adhered to the MedDiet.

The sig­na­ture also revealed the individual’s meta­bolic response to the diet. The research team deter­mined that higher lev­els of the meta­bolic sig­na­ture were linked to reduced long term risks of car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease.

A blood test can authen­ti­cate the meta­bolic sig­na­ture by detect­ing metabo­lites found in cells that cir­cu­late in the blood­stream. The researchers reported that the blood test offered a more accu­rate gauge of dietary com­pli­ance than the tra­di­tion­ally used self-reported data.

A machine-learn­ing model was used to develop the meta­bolic sig­na­ture by ana­lyz­ing hun­dreds of metabo­lites con­tained in blood sam­ples taken from almost 2000 par­tic­i­pants of the Spanish PREDIMED study; a study that inves­ti­gated the long-term effects of the Mediterranean diet on car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease.


The meta­bolic sig­na­ture was ver­i­fied by apply­ing the same research meth­ods to blood sam­ples col­lected from 6,868 par­tic­i­pants of a U.S.-based health study.

Participants’ adher­ence to the MedDiet was ini­tially assessed using a Mediterranean Diet Adherence Screener whilst their blood plasma was pro­filed using liq­uid chro­matog­ra­phy-mass spec­trom­e­try to screen the metabolome.

It was con­cluded that the meta­bolic sig­na­ture and its metabo­lite com­po­nents could lead to a bet­ter under­stand­ing of how the Mediterranean diet would specif­i­cally ben­e­fit peo­ple with com­plex meta­bolic dis­eases and holds the poten­tial for use in future per­son­al­ized nutri­tional inter­ven­tions.

As results were mir­rored across both the Spanish and U.S. study pop­u­la­tions despite vari­a­tions in diets, lifestyle and the envi­ron­ments, the approach of this pio­neer­ing study into devel­op­ing a meta­bolic sig­na­ture for the Mediterranean diet was con­sid­ered to be robust.

Marta Guasch-Ferré, a co-author of the Mediterranean diet’s meta­bolic sig­na­ture study had pre­vi­ously pre­sented a report to the American Heart Association which con­cluded that eat­ing more than a half table­spoon of olive oil per day could lower the risk of CVD by 15 per­cent.

Guasch-Ferré told Olive Oil Times, All types of olive oil are a good source of monoun­sat­u­rated fatty acids, and the total con­sump­tion of olive oil was asso­ci­ated with a lower risk of CVD in our study.”

Last month a study pub­lished by the British Medical Journal hailed the Mediterranean diet as the most effec­tive diet for reduc­ing the risk of heart dis­ease.


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