Metabolomics Unveils Urinary Changes in Subjects With Metabolic Syndrome Following 12-week Nut Consumption

J Proteome Res. 2011 Nov 4;10(11):5047-58. doi: 10.1021/pr200514h. Epub 2011 Sep 29.


Through an HPLC-Q-TOF-MS-driven nontargeted metabolomics approach, we aimed to discriminate changes in the urinary metabolome of subjects with metabolic syndrome (MetS), following 12 weeks of mixed nuts consumption (30 g/day), compared to sex- and age-matched individuals given a control diet. The urinary metabolome corresponding to the nut-enriched diet clearly clustered in a distinct group, and the multivariate data analysis discriminated relevant mass features in this separation. Metabolites corresponding to the discriminating ions (MS features) were then subjected to multiple tandem mass spectrometry experiments using LC-ITD-FT-MS, to confirm their putative identification. The metabolomics approach revealed 20 potential markers of nut intake, including fatty acid conjugated metabolites, phase II and microbial-derived phenolic metabolites, and serotonin metabolites. An increased excretion of serotonin metabolites was associated for the first time with nut consumption. Additionally, the detection of urinary markers of gut microbial and phase II metabolism of nut polyphenols confirmed the understanding of their bioavailability and bioactivity as a priority area of research in the determination of the health effects derived from nut consumption. The results confirmed how a nontargeted metabolomics strategy may help to access unexplored metabolic pathways impacted by diet, thereby raising prospects for new intervention targets.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / chemistry
  • Biomarkers / urine
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Metabolic Syndrome / diet therapy
  • Metabolic Syndrome / urine*
  • Metabolomics
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Weight
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Nuts*
  • Patient Compliance
  • Polyphenols / metabolism


  • Biomarkers
  • Fatty Acids
  • Polyphenols