Author(s): Petzke KJ, Boeing H, Klaus S, Metges CC
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Abstract The stable nitrogen (15N) and carbon (13C) isotopic composition of tissues reflects the isotopic pattern of food sources. We investigated whether the isotopic composition of human hair can be used as a biomarker to predict the dietary intake of animal-derived food. Hair samples were collected from subjects during a 1987-1988 German nutrition survey (VERA) in which dietary information was collected using a 7-d dietary record. Samples of 50 men and 50 women were randomly selected, in addition to 27 samples of subjects with a reported low meat intake. Isotope ratio MS was used to analyze hair bulk and amino acid-specific isotopic composition. Its relation with and feasibility for predicting animal protein intake were tested using regression analysis and cross-tabulation of observed and predicted dietary data and comparison of the individual values for the binary categories of high and low intake. 15N and 13C abundances strongly predicted relative animal protein and meat intake (R2= 0.31, P < 0.01 and R2= 0.20, P <0.01, respectively). Distinct patterns of individual hair amino acid 15N and 13C abundances were observed. In contrast to bulk values, the isotopic abundances in individual amino acids did not show discriminating ability across sex and isotope-specific categories. We conclude that hair 13C values are as predictive for animal protein consumption as hair 15N values. Bulk isotopic abundance of hair can be used as a biomarker for animal protein intake to validate dietary assessment methods provided that the correlation between isotopic abundances and dietary protein intake is verified in dietary intervention studies.
This article was published in J Nutr
and referenced in Journal of Physical Chemistry & Biophysics