Identification of biochemical changes in lactovegetarian urine using 1H NMR spectroscopy and pattern recognition

Anal Bioanal Chem. 2010 Feb;396(4):1451-63. doi: 10.1007/s00216-009-3338-z. Epub 2009 Dec 17.


A vegetarian diet has been demonstrated to have a profound influence on human metabolism as well as to aid the prevention of several chronic diseases relative to an omnivorous diet. However, there have been no systematic metabolomic studies on all of the biochemical changes induced in human subjects by long-term vegetarianism. In this study, (1)H NMR spectroscopy in combination with multivariate statistical analysis was applied to explore the variability in the metabolic urinary profiles of healthy populations from four groups: lactovegetarian male (VEGMALE), lactovegetarian female (VEGFEMALE), omnivorous male (OMNMALE), and omnivorous female (OMNFEMALE). Differences in metabolic profiles were examined in relation to diet and gender by principal component analysis (PCA) and spectral integrals. It was found that the most influential low molecular weight metabolites responsible for the differences between the diet groups were N-acetyl glycoprotein (NAG), succinate, citrate, trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO), taurine, glycine, hippurate, phenylalanine, methylhistidine and formate, whereas for the differences in gender groups the most discriminatory metabolites were NAG, succinate, creatinine, arginine, TMAO, taurine, hippurate, mannitol, phenylalanine, and methylhistidine. The results from the PCA of all four groups indicated that diet plays a greater role in influencing metabolite differences than gender. As an exploration, this work shows the potential of metabolomics when applied to nutritional and physiological studies, and it will aid further studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diet, Vegetarian*
  • Female
  • Glucose / analysis
  • Glycine / urine
  • Glycosuria
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Male
  • Metabolomics
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Reference Values
  • Sex Factors
  • Succinic Acid / urine
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Taurine / urine
  • Urine / chemistry*
  • Young Adult


  • Taurine
  • Succinic Acid
  • Glucose
  • Glycine