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Serum carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes as potential biomarkers of dietary intake and their relation with incident type 2 diabetes: the EPIC-Norfolk study

Patel, P. S., Cooper, A. J. M., O'Connell, T. C., Kuhnle, G. G. C., Kneale, C. K., Mulligan, A. M., Luben, R. N., Brage, S., Khaw, K.-T., Wareham, N. J. and Forouhi, N. G. (2014) Serum carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes as potential biomarkers of dietary intake and their relation with incident type 2 diabetes: the EPIC-Norfolk study. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 100 (2). pp. 708-718. ISSN 0002-9165

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To link to this item DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.113.068577

Abstract/Summary

Background: Stable-isotope ratios of carbon (13C/12C, expressed as δ13C) and nitrogen (15N/14N, or δ15N) have been proposed as potential nutritional biomarkers to distinguish between meat, fish, and plant-based foods. Objective: The objective was to investigate dietary correlates of δ13C and δ15N and examine the association of these biomarkers with incident type 2 diabetes in a prospective study. Design: Serum δ13C and δ15N (‰) were measured by using isotope ratio mass spectrometry in a case-cohort study (n = 476 diabetes cases; n = 718 subcohort) nested within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)–Norfolk population-based cohort. We examined dietary (food-frequency questionnaire) correlates of δ13C and δ15N in the subcohort. HRs and 95% CIs were estimated by using Prentice-weighted Cox regression. Results: Mean (±SD) δ13C and δ15N were −22.8 ± 0.4‰ and 10.2 ± 0.4‰, respectively, and δ13C (r = 0.22) and δ15N (r = 0.20) were positively correlated (P < 0.001) with fish protein intake. Animal protein was not correlated with δ13C but was significantly correlated with δ15N (dairy protein: r = 0.11; meat protein: r = 0.09; terrestrial animal protein: r = 0.12, P ≤ 0.013). δ13C was inversely associated with diabetes in adjusted analyses (HR per tertile: 0.74; 95% CI: 0.65, 0.83; P-trend < 0.001], whereas δ15N was positively associated (HR: 1.23; 95% CI: 1.09, 1.38; P-trend = 0.001). Conclusions: The isotope ratios δ13C and δ15N may both serve as potential biomarkers of fish protein intake, whereas only δ15N may reflect broader animal-source protein intake in a European population. The inverse association of δ13C but a positive association of δ15N with incident diabetes should be interpreted in the light of knowledge of dietary intake and may assist in identifying dietary components that are associated with health risks and benefits.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences > Human Nutrition Research Group
ID Code:37070
Publisher:American Society for Nutrition

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