Healthy dietary metabolites associate with lower risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes

Activity: Examination and supervisionSupervision of PhD students


Current evidence suggest that many cases of cardiovascular disease and diabetes are preventable by maintaining a healthy diet. Many different dietary habits are suggested to have potential benefits, but the mechanism by how dietary intake affects the metabolic health need further exploration. The measurement of dietary-related metabolites might add insight into the dietary effect on disease pathogenesis. Additionally, disease risk prediction based on dietary intake measurements could be refined by the addition of plasma metabolite data.

Research questions and method
We have measured plasma metabolites in three Malmö based cohorts, Malmö Diet and Cancer (MDC, n = 3833), Malmö Preventive Project (MPP, n = 1500) and Malmö Offspring Study (MOS, n = 3431). Associations between healthy dietary intake and plasma metabolites were tested in MDC. The associations with diet associated metabolites and risk for future cardiovascular disease and diabetes were investigated using cox regression. Additionally, we created a multivariate healthy dietary metabolite signature in MOS, and further used it as a proxy for dietary intake to assess the association between healthy dietary intake and disease risk in MDC and MPP.

Preliminary results
Among 6 healthy dietary associated metabolites ergothioneine, acetylornithine and proline betaine were associated with a lower risk for cardiovascular disease in MDC. The metabolic signature for healthy eating was associated with a lower risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease in both MDC and MPP. The associations with diabetes remained significant after full adjustment in both cohorts.

The healthy dietary metabolite ergothioneine has been suggested to have several health benefits, and we are the first to show an association with lower risk for future disease. We further show that plasma metabolites are good markers for healthy eating and can be used to assess dietary effect on future disease risk even in cohorts without dietary data. Combined, our research provides new insight into potential mechanism by which dietary intake affects metabolic health and offers suggestion for plasma metabolic research in dietary research.
Period2019 Mar 25 → …
Examinee/Supervised personEinar Smith
Examination/Supervision held at