Measuring Biomarkers to Evaluate Nutritional Status
As a reader, you will know I recommend using nutritional biomarkers to assess health outcomes rather than dietary intake guestimates. Wood and colleagues affirm these statements. They analyzed dietary and biological data obtained from approximately 2,000 Scottish women who attended a baseline visit between 1990-1993 as part of the Aberdeen Prospective Osteoporosis Screening Study (APOSS).
Over the 10 years, their age increased (not surprisingly) as did their body weight (+2 kg), total cholesterol (+0.3 mmol/L), and HDL-C (+0.35 mmol/L). Median serum concentrations were: β-carotene concentrations 0.18 µmol/L, lutein/zeaxanthin 0.15 µmol/L, and α-tocopherol 12.5 µmol/L. Serum β-carotenoid concentrations were positively correlated with fruit and vegetable intake (r = 0.202, P < 0.001). Serum carotenoid concentrations were more tightly associated with biomarkers of chronic low-grade systemic inflammation (CLSI) than dietary patterns.
Serum β-carotene (0.28 µmol/L), lutein (0.28 µmol/L) and zeaxanthin ( 0.09 µmol/L) concentrations in healthy Midwestern Americans are higher than those reported by Wood and colleagues. Serum α-tocopherol, but not ϒ-tocopherol, concentrations were associated with a suppression of systemic inflammation (assessed by serum IL-6 concentrations).
These Scottish subjects, as well as the majority of Americans over 60 years, are not maintaining healthy serum levels of antioxidants. Serum lutein/zeaxanthin concentrations are associated with macular pigment density. Patients with combined serum lutein and zeaxanthin concentrations greater than 0.21 µmol/L have reduced risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Serum α-tocopherol concentration of 30-33 µmol/L optimally reduce mortality due to chronic disease.
These studies demonstrate the value of having biomarker status data.
Wood AD, Strachan AA, Thies F, Aucott LS, Reid DM, Hardcastle AC, Mavroeidi A, Simpson WG, Duthie GG, Macdonald HM. Patterns of dietary intake and serum carotenoid and tocopherol status are associated with biomarkers of chronic low-grade systemic inflammation and cardiovascular risk. 2014 Br J Nutr doi: 10.1017/S0007114514001962
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