Evaluation of the Metabotype Concept Identified in an Irish Population in the German KORA Cohort Study

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2020 Apr;64(8):e1900918. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201900918. Epub 2020 Feb 20.


Scope: Previous work identified three metabolically homogeneous subgroups of individuals ("metabotypes") using k-means cluster analysis based on fasting serum levels of triacylglycerol, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and glucose. The aim is to reproduce these findings and describe metabotype groups by dietary habits and by incident disease occurrence.

Methods and results: 1744 participants from the KORA F4 study and 2221 participants from the KORA FF4 study are assigned to the three metabotype clusters previously identified by minimizing the Euclidean distances. In both KORA studies, the assignment of participants results in three metabolically distinct clusters, with cluster 3 representing the group of participants with the most unfavorable metabolic characteristics. Individuals of cluster 3 are further characterized by the highest incident disease occurrence during follow-up; they also reveal the most unfavorable diet with significantly lowest intakes of vegetables, dairy products, and fibers, and highest intakes of total, red, and processed meat.

Conclusion: The three metabotypes originally identified in an Irish population are successfully reproduced. In addition to this validation approach, the observed differences in disease incidence across metabotypes represent an important new finding that strongly supports the metabotyping approach as a tool for risk stratification.

Keywords: cardiometabolic diseases; diet; enable cluster; metabolic phenotypes; metabotypes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Cardiometabolic Risk Factors
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Germany / ethnology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metabolic Diseases / epidemiology
  • Metabolome*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Blood Glucose
  • Triglycerides
  • Cholesterol