Role of metabolomics in identification of biomarkers related to food intake

Type Article

Journal Article


C. Collins; A. E. McNamara; L. Brennan

Year of publication



Proc Nutr Soc








Dietary assessment methods including FFQ and food diaries are associated with many measurement errors including energy under-reporting and incorrect estimation of portion sizes. Such errors can lead to inconsistent results especially when investigating the relationship between food intake and disease causation. To improve the classification of a person's dietary intake and therefore clarify proposed links between diet and disease, reliable and accurate dietary assessment methods are essential. Dietary biomarkers have emerged as a complementary approach to the traditional methods, and in recent years, metabolomics has developed as a key technology for the identification of new dietary biomarkers. The objective of this review is to give an overview of the approaches used for the identification of biomarkers and potential use of the biomarkers. Over the years, a number of strategies have emerged for the discovery of dietary biomarkers including acute and medium term interventions and cross-sectional/cohort study approaches. Examples of the different approaches will be presented. Concomitant with the focus on single biomarkers of specific foods, there is an interest in the development of biomarker signatures for the identification of dietary patterns. In the present review, we present an overview of the techniques used in food intake biomarker discover, including the experimental approaches used and challenges faced in the field. While significant progress has been achieved in the field of dietary biomarkers in recent years, a number of challenges remain. Addressing these challenges will be key to ensure success in implementing use of dietary biomarkers.