Plasma alkylresorcinol metabolite, a biomarker of whole-grain wheat and rye intake, and risk of ischemic stroke: a case-control study

Am J Clin Nutr. 2019 Feb 1;109(2):1-7. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqy323.


Background: Epidemiologic studies on whole grains and risk of stroke have reported inconsistent results, with some suggesting a protective effect but others showing a null association.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to examine whether plasma 3-(3,5-dihydroxyphenyl)-1-propanoic acid (DHPPA), a biomarker of whole-grain wheat and rye intake, is associated with risk of ischemic stroke.

Methods: A hospital-based case-control study was conducted between March 2011 and May 2016. Cases (n = 990) with first ischemic stroke were matched to controls (n = 990) by sex and age. Concentrations of plasma DHPPA were determined by high-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. We calculated ORs for the association of plasma DHPPA concentrations with ischemic stroke risk through the use of logistic regression.

Results: Plasma DHPPA was inversely associated with ischemic stroke risk. After adjustment for potential confounding factors, the ORs for ischemic stroke across increasing quartiles of plasma DHPPA concentrations were 1 (referent), 0.76 (95% CI: 0.58, 0.99), 0.71 (95% CI: 0.54, 0.92), and 0.59 (95% CI: 0.45, 0.77), respectively (P-trend = 0.001). The inverse association was also observed in all subgroups of participants according to sex, age, body mass index, smoking status, alcohol consumption, history of hypertension, and history of diabetes.

Conclusions: Our study showed that higher plasma DHPPA concentrations were associated with lower risk of ischemic stroke. This finding provides further evidence to support the health benefits of whole-grain consumption.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Brain Ischemia / blood
  • Brain Ischemia / prevention & control
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fiber / therapeutic use
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phenylpropionates / blood
  • Propionates / blood*
  • Resorcinols / blood*
  • Secale / chemistry*
  • Stroke / blood*
  • Stroke / prevention & control
  • Triticum / chemistry*
  • Whole Grains / chemistry*


  • Biomarkers
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Phenylpropionates
  • Propionates
  • Resorcinols