Metabolome of healthy and unhealthy dietary patterns
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Background and aim: Healthy diet has been shown to have a positive impact on health status. However, underlying mechanisms are not completely understood. Metabolomics, in which metabolites in biofluids are analyzed and quantified, can be utilized to uncover metabolomic signatures associated with healthy and unhealthy dietary patterns. Utilizing metabolomics can improve understanding of the effects of healthy and unhealthy dietary patterns on metabolic processes and eventually provide a greater understanding of the underlying mechanisms in which healthy diet contributes to health status. This review aimed to conduct a systematic search to provide an overview of relevant literature and to gather and analyze available data on the metabolomic signatures associated with healthy and unhealthy dietary patterns. Methods: A systematic search was conducted to identify randomized controlled trials investigating endogenous metabolome in plasma, serum, or urine in subjects consuming a healthy dietary pattern compared to subjects consuming a relatively unhealthier dietary pattern. Metabolites reported as significant were extracted and used to compare metabolite class distributions between dietary patterns. Metabolites reported in multiple studies were highlighted. Pathway over-representation analyses of metabolites associated with a healthy or unhealthy dietary pattern were performed. Results: 20 relevant randomized controlled trials were identified and article characteristics were summarized. Differences in metabolite class distributions were found between dietary patterns and metabolite class compositions were dependent on sample specimen. Several metabolites were associated with either a healthy or unhealthy dietary pattern in multiple articles. Pathway over-representation analyses show several metabolic pathways significantly enriched in healthy or unhealthy dietary patterns. Conclusions: Differing metabolomic signatures were found to be associated with healthy and unhealthy dietary patterns. Identified differences do not provide a unanimous and clear consensus regarding connections to health status. Further research is needed to understand correlations between metabolomic profiles and health status. More comparable study parameters will enable future meta-analyses to more accurately uncover metabolomic profiles associated with dietary patterns.