While conventional nutrition research has yielded biomarkers such as doubly labeled water for energy metabolism and 24-h urinary nitrogen for protein intake, a critical need exists for additional, equally robust biomarkers that allow for objective assessment of specific food intake and dietary exposure. Recent advances in high-throughput MS combined with improved metabolomics techniques and bioinformatic tools provide new opportunities for dietary biomarker development. In September 2018, the NIH organized a 2-d workshop to engage nutrition and omics researchers and explore the potential of multiomics approaches in nutritional biomarker research. The current Perspective summarizes key gaps and challenges identified, as well as the recommendations from the workshop that could serve as a guide for scientists interested in dietary biomarkers research. Topics addressed included study designs for biomarker development, analytical and bioinformatic considerations, and integration of dietary biomarkers with other omics techniques. Several clear needs were identified, including larger controlled feeding studies, testing a variety of foods and dietary patterns across diverse populations, improved reporting standards to support study replication, more chemical standards covering a broader range of food constituents and human metabolites, standardized approaches for biomarker validation, comprehensive and accessible food composition databases, a common ontology for dietary biomarker literature, and methodologic work on statistical procedures for intake biomarker discovery. Multidisciplinary research teams with appropriate expertise are critical to moving forward the field of dietary biomarkers and producing robust, reproducible biomarkers that can be used in public health and clinical research.
Keywords: diet; dietary biomarkers; dietary intervention studies; metabolomics; nutrition.
Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Society for Nutrition 2019.