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Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals


Minimally Invasive Techniques to Measure Nutritional Biomarkers

By Michael McBurney

Minimally invasive techniques to measure nutrient status could be far superior to self-reported dietary intake information. Why? Self-reported dietary intake doesn’t correlate very with nutritional biochemical markers. According to Lassale and colleagues, dietary intake data explains less than 14% of the variability in nutritional biomarkers. Probably because we are not very precise in recording food intake.

When using finger-prick sampling, the very small blood sample may limit the accuracy of assessing nutritional status by biochemical biomarkers. Hoeller and colleagues wanted to know if vitamin D status could be measured by applying a finger prick spot of blood to a filter paper. They also wanted to know if the dried blood samples could be stored or needed to be analyzed immediately.

A total of 3,779 dried blood samples were analyzed from 1,465 participants and 7 countries. The analysis was part of the Food4Me study. Hematocrit concentrations were used to convert data from plasma to whole blood values. Dried blood samples were compared with calibration samples from plasma obtained from the same samples.

Stability trials were conducted and the authors determined that dried blood samples could be stored for at least 6 months at -20C without degradation. The r-value between measured values and predicted values was 0.65. This is better than the correlation between dietary intake and biochemical biomarker for many nutrients (r<0.14). The authors conclude that the dried blood-based method of unsupervised sampling by participants at home was suitable for status determination of 25(OH)D3.

The adoption of minimally-invasive techniques, like these established for vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, could greatly improve individual and societal understanding of nutritional inadequacy over collecting self-reported dietary intakes.

Main Citation

Hoeller U, Roos FF, Brennan L, Daniel H, Fallaize R, Forster H, Gibney ER, Gibney M, Godlewska M, Hartwig K, Kolossa S, Lambrinou CP, Livingstone KM, Lovegrove JA, Macready AL, Manios Y, Marsaux CFM, Martinez A, Celis-Morales C, Moschonis G, Navas-Carretero S, O’Donovan CB, San-Cristobal R, Saris WHM, Surwillo A, Traczyk I, Tsirigoti L, Walsh Mc, Woolhead C, Mathers JC, Weber P on behalf of the Food4Me project. Application of dried blood spots to determine vitamin D status in a large nutritional study with unsupervised sampling: the Food4Me project. 2015 Br J Nutr doi: 10.1017/S0007114515004298

Other Citations

Lassale C, Castetbon K, Laporte F, Deschamps V, Vernay M, Camilleri GM, Faure P, Hercberg S, Galan P, Kesse-Guyot E. Correlations between fruit, vegetables, fish, vitamins and fatty acids estimated by web-based nonconsecutive dietary records and respective biomarkers of nutritional status. 2015 JAND doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2015.09.017

Bell JG, Mackinlay EE, Dick JR, Younger I, Lands B, Gilhooly T. Using a fingertip whole blood sample for rapid fatty acid measurement: method validation and correlation with erythrocyte lipid compositions in UK subjects. 2011 Br J Nutr doi: 10.1017/S0007114511001978

Lee S, Oncescu V, Mancuso M, Mehta S, Erickson D. A smartphone platform for the quantification of vitamin D levels. 2011 Lab on a Chip doi: 10.1039/C3LC51375K