Randomized nutrient bar supplementation improves exercise-associated changes in plasma metabolome in adolescents and adult family members at cardiometabolic risk

PLoS One. 2020 Oct 20;15(10):e0240437. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0240437. eCollection 2020.


Background: Poor diets contribute to metabolic complications of obesity, insulin resistance and dyslipidemia. Metabolomic biomarkers may serve as early nutrition-sensitive health indicators. This family-based lifestyle change program compared metabolic outcomes in an intervention group (INT) that consumed 2 nutrient bars daily for 2-months and a control group (CONT).

Methods: Overweight, predominantly minority and female adolescent (Teen)/parent adult caretaker (PAC) family units were recruited from a pediatric obesity clinic. CONT (8 Teen, 8 PAC) and INT (10 Teen, 10 PAC) groups randomized to nutrient bar supplementation attended weekly classes that included group nutrition counseling and supervised exercise. Pre-post physical and behavioral parameters, fasting traditional biomarkers, plasma sphingolipids and amino acid metabolites were measured.

Results: In the full cohort, a baseline sphingolipid ceramide principal component composite score correlated with adiponectin, triglycerides, triglyceride-rich very low density lipoproteins, and atherogenic small low density lipoprotein (LDL) sublasses. Inverse associations were seen between a sphingomyelin composite score and C-reactive protein, a dihydroceramide composite score and diastolic blood pressure, and the final principal component that included glutathionone with fasting insulin and the homeostatic model of insulin resistance. In CONT, plasma ceramides, sphinganine, sphingosine and amino acid metabolites increased, presumably due to increased physical activity. Nutrient bar supplementation (INT) blunted this rise and significantly decreased ureagenic, aromatic and gluconeogenic amino acid metabolites. Metabolomic changes were positively correlated with improvements in clinical biomarkers of dyslipidemia.

Conclusion: Nutrient bar supplementation with increased physical activity in obese Teens and PAC elicits favorable metabolomic changes that correlate with improved dyslipidemia. The trial from which the analyses reported upon herein was part of a series of nutrient bar clinical trials registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT02239198.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Counseling
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Family
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Metabolomics / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Overweight / therapy*
  • Plasma / chemistry*
  • Plasma / drug effects
  • Treatment Outcome

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02239198