Heinzmann, Silke S.; Brown, Ian J.; Chan, Queenie; Bictash, Magda; Dumas, Marc-Emmanuel; Kochhar, Sunil; Stamler, Jeremiah; Holmes, Elaine; Elliott, Paul; Nicholson, Jeremy K.
BACKGROUND: New food biomarkers are needed to objectively evaluate the effect of diet on health and to check adherence to dietary recommendations and healthy eating patterns. OBJECTIVE: We developed a strategy for food biomarker discovery, which combined nutritional intervention with metabolic phenotyping and biomarker validation in a large-scale epidemiologic study. DESIGN: We administered a standardized diet to 8 individuals and established a putative urinary biomarker of fruit consumption by using (1)H nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopic profiling. The origin of the biomarker was confirmed by using targeted NMR spectroscopy of various fruit. Excretion kinetics of the biomarker were measured. The biomarker was validated by using urinary NMR spectra from UK participants of the INTERMAP (International Collaborative Study of Macronutrients, Micronutrients, and Blood Pressure) (n = 499) in which citrus consumption was ascertained from four 24-h dietary recalls per person. Finally, dietary patterns of citrus consumers (n = 787) and nonconsumers (n = 1211) were compared. RESULTS: We identified proline betaine as a putative biomarker of citrus consumption. High concentrations were observed only in citrus fruit. Most proline betaine was excreted < or =14 h after a first-order excretion profile. Biomarker validation in the epidemiologic data showed a sensitivity of 86.3% for elevated proline betaine excretion in participants who reported citrus consumption and a specificity of 90.6% (P