Application Note - Magnetic Resonance

1H-NMR-based metabolomics Study Finds Beneficial Changes in Lipoprotein Profile After DHA and Oat Beta-Glucan Consumption*

*published as a NCBI article by Ghini V, Tenori L, Capozzi F, et al. Nutrients. 2019;12(1) -

1H -NMR-based metabolomics Study Finds Beneficial Changes in Lipoprotein Profile After DHA and Oat Beta-Glucan Consumption

Bioactive chemicals, which are commonly present in foods at low concentrations, can offer several human health benefits. These benefits mainly revolve around the prevention of specific metabolicrelated diseases. Additionally, bioactive components found in food may be helpful for the prevention of neurological degeneration and cardiovascular disease.1,2 The extent of bioactives particularly foods enriched with these chemicals, on human health continue to serve as an important area of research.

In a recent study, European researchers examined the impact of bioactive-enriched food on the perturbation of human serum metabolome using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)-based metabolomics.3 Findings of the analysis can be pf great relevance to how clinicians will assess disease risk in the future.

The Value of Functional Foods on Human Health

Functional foods, or foods that contain high concentrations of bioactives, are becoming increasingly popular. These food products, created by the food and beverage industry, are usually fortified with high levels of specific nutrients or antioxidants. Nutraceutical companies will typically isolate these bioactive chemicals and include them in dietary supplements. Doing so, these organizations effectively increase the optimally effective dose range necessary for achieving each nutrient’s supposed associated health benefits.

Studies on nutraceuticals, however, often fail to discriminate the source of bioactive compounds and the association between the source and the proposed health benefit. In a bioactive-enriched food, the food matrix may play a role in the final health effect. Embedded in this food matrix include other constituents, such as vitamins and minerals, that could assist or prevent the bioavailability of the bioactive.

1H-NMR-Based Analysis Examines Plasma Metabolome Changes Following Bioactive Consumption

European researchers published results from a recent NMR study that examined the impact of one bioactive – docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) – on the plasma metabolome of individuals who were considered to be at high risk of metabolic syndrome. Research has previously demonstrated an association between increased intake of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA with a lower risk of several components of metabolic syndrome.4 These include cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke.

A total of 117 participants with risk factors for metabolic syndrome – including elevated waist circumference, high fasting triglycerides, elevated blood pressure, and high fasting blood glucose – were given bioactive-enriched milkshake, biscuits, or pancakes once a day across 3 different trials. The foods were enriched with DHA, anthocyanins, oat beta-glucan, DHA plus anthocyanins, or DHA plus oat beta-glucan. The daily DHA dose was lower than 0.3 grams. Fasting blood samples were taken at baseline and 4 weeks after intervention.

1H -NMR Analysis using Bruker IVDr system *

All serum samples were analysed by 1H NMR using a Bruker Avance IVDr 600 MHz system (Bruker Avance III HD with a 5 mm PATXI 1H-13C-15N probe with automatic tuning-matching, z-axis gradient coil, and Bruker’s automatic and refrigerate sample changer SampleJet) and following the SOPs for sample preparation and analysis. The Lipoprotein Subclasses distribution were performed on the spectra using the Bruker IVDr Lipoprotein Subclasses Analysis (B.I.LISA). The results of the study showed that consumption of anthocyanins and oat beta-glucan alone did not result in significant alteration of the individual metabolome. Taken together, DHA and anthocyanins were associated with reductions in the metabolomic effects of DHA. Foods enriched for DHA plus oat beta-glucan offered the best classification accuracy of 86%.

Administration of DHA plus oat beta-glucan altered lipoprotein profiles, with profiles demonstrating strong post-intervention rearrangement. The group that received DHA plus oat beta-glucan had a significant decrement in very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) particle number as well as a decrement in triglyceride number. The latter decrease in triglycerides correlated with triglyceride decreases in VLDL, highdensity lipoprotein, intermediate density lipoprotein, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL).

Decrements of triglycerides did not show any modification in LDL 4 and 5 subparticles. Participants who consumed DHA experienced an increase in total apolipoprotein B100 (ApoB100) and LDL particle number. The increase in LDL was most noticeably attributed to increases in the small, dense LDL subparticles (ie, LDL 4 and LDL 5).

Despite the increase in total ApoB100, dietary intervention with DHA was associated with a decrease in the ApoB100/apolipoprotein A1 (ApoA1) ratio. Both ApoB100 and ApoA1 represent the balance between atherogenic and anti-atherogenic lipoproteins, respectively. The investigators of this NMR-based metabolomics study suggest DHA consumption for 4 weeks may reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome, considering the ApoB100/ApoA1 ratio has been consistently predictive of metabolic syndrome risk in previous studies.

Conclusions and Future Research Directions

Based on the findings from this study, the researchers suggest that NMR-based metabolomics may be a potentially effective method for identifying appropriate food matrices for fortified foods. Additionally, the study demonstrated that 1H-NMR based lipoprotein subclass analysis may ultimately allow lab professionals the opportunity to analyze triglyceride levels in relation to changes in the lipoprotein profile. In turn, this analysis may improve the identification and prediction of disease risk in patient with risk factors for metabolic syndrome and other conditions.

While these findings may assist in potentially predicting the risk of metabolic syndrome after supplementation in certain individuals, they need to be validated. According to the researchers, an important methodological consideration for additional studies to verify these findings is the inclusion of a placebo group.


1. Babazadeh A, Mohammadi Vahed F, Jafari SM, et al. Nanocarrier-mediated brain delivery of bioactives for treatment/prevention of neurodegenerative diseases. J Control Release. 2020;321:211-221.

2. Cicero A, Colletti A. Food and plant bioactives for reducing cardiometabolic disease: How does the evidence stack up? Trends Food Sci Technol. 2017;(69):192-202.

3. Ghini V, Tenori L, Capozzi F, et al. DHA-Induced Perturbation of Human Serum Metabolome. Role of the Food Matrix and Co- Administration of Oat ί-glucan and Anthocyanins. Nutrients. 2019;12(1).

4. Poudyal H, Panchal SK, Diwan V, Brown L. Omega-3 fatty acids and metabolic syndrome: effects and emerging mechanisms of action. Prog Lipid Res. 2011;50(4):372-87.

* Bruker NMR Instruments are for research Use Only. Not for Use in Clinical Diagnostic Procedures.