Time-resolved concentrations of serum amino acids, one-carbon metabolites and B-vitamin biomarkers during the postprandial and fasting state: the Postprandial Metabolism in Healthy Young Adults (PoMet) Study

Br J Nutr. 2023 Oct 27:1-15. doi: 10.1017/S0007114523002490. Online ahead of print.


Metabolomics has been utilised in epidemiological studies to investigate biomarkers of nutritional status and metabolism in relation to non-communicable diseases. However, little is known about the effect of prandial status on several biomarker concentrations. Therefore, the aim of this intervention study was to investigate the effect of a standardised breakfast meal followed by food abstinence for 24 h on serum concentrations of amino acids, one-carbon metabolites and B-vitamin biomarkers. Thirty-four healthy subjects (eighteen males and sixteen females) aged 20-30 years were served a breakfast meal (∼500 kcal) after which they consumed only water for 24 h. Blood samples were drawn before and at thirteen standardised timepoints after the meal. Circulating concentrations of most amino acids and metabolites linked to one-carbon metabolism peaked within the first 3 h after the meal. The branched-chain amino acids steadily increased from 6 or 8 hours after the meal, while proline decreased in the same period. Homocysteine and cysteine concentrations immediately decreased after the meal but steadily increased from 3 and 4 hours until 24 h. FMN and riboflavin fluctuated immediately after the meal but increased from 6 h, while folate increased immediately after the meal and remained elevated during the 24 h. Our findings indicate that accurate reporting of time since last meal is crucial when investigating concentrations of certain amino acids and one-carbon metabolites. Our results suggest a need for caution when interpretating studies, which utilise such biomarkers, but do not strictly control for time since the last meal.

Keywords: Biomarkers; Epidemiology; Fasting; Metabolism; Metabolites; Metabolomics; Postprandial Response.