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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BHNRC) » Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center » Food Components and Health Laboratory » Research » Research Project #436407

Research Project: Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism and Excretion of Food Components and their Impact on Chronic Disease Risk

Location: Food Components and Health Laboratory

2022 Annual Report

Objective 1: Determine the genotype, phenotype and food matrix factors that influence absorption, distribution, metabolism or excretion of glucosinolates, phenolics, and other food components. Objective 2: Determine how consumption of foods and food components, including but not limited to glucosinolates, phenolics, and carotenoids, modulate inflammatory and metabolic pathways that affect risk for cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, and other chronic disease.

U.S. agriculture provides us with myriad dietary components that can have a significant impact on health. The human diet contains thousands of bioactive food components which have a multitude of physiologic actions, some of which can interrupt processes in the development of a host of chronic diseases. The goal of this project plan is to enhance the understanding of physiologic actions of diet-based bioactive compounds to improve their absorption and efficacy in promoting health and preventing disease. We have organized this project to address current and emerging nutrition issues while capitalizing on the experience and expertise of the research team assigned to this project. We will address the following factors for several different categories of food components and bioactives: how much of a dietary component we absorb from the food, how well we retain and utilize that dietary component, and how the bioactive compounds function in the body (mechanisms of action) to prevent the most significant modifiable health risks faced by American adults, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. Bioactive compounds will include polyphenols, carotenoids, and sulfur compounds from Brassica vegetables, because all demonstrate promising health benefits, and work with these compounds capitalizes on previous progress in our laboratory.

Progress Report
This report is for project 8040-51000-059-000D entitled "Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism, and Excretion of Food Components and their Impact on Chronic Disease Risk." The project contributes to National Program 107 and focuses on Component 1 Linking Agricultural Practices and Beneficial Health Outcomes, Component 3 (Scientific Basis for Dietary Guidance), and Component 4 (Prevention of Obesity and Obesity-Related Diseases) through human studies focusing on Brassica vegetables, whole grains, and berries. For Objective 1, a study of whole grains (oats and wheat) is ongoing to investigate how the processing of grains impacts the absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion of phenolics (5-n-alkylresorcinols, avenanthramides, saponins) found in whole grains. Additional samples were collected to determine how bacteria isolated from fecal samples metabolize various grain compounds. Determining the intake of whole grains (through biomarkers) will facilitate a better understanding of their health effects. The absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion of vitamin D in pregnant women were studied in collaboration with scientists at Cornell University. During pregnancy, the blood pool of the active form of vitamin D increases throughout most of the pregnancy period. Why or how this phenomenon occurs is unknown, but it likely represents an important adaptation to the growing child's health. A new lab method was developed to measure the amount of the isotopically-labeled vitamin forms in the body. It was found that the women in the study had marked variability in their vitamin D metabolism and that a protein called "vitamin D binding protein" had the greatest influence on the vitamin D metabolism. The new method developed in this work will allow further studies of vitamin D metabolism in various populations, including pregnant and nonpregnant women. A dietary intervention study of chickpeas and lentils was completed to better understand the absorption of macronutrients from these pulses. Analyses of samples was completed. This research has identified errors in food labels for chickpeas and lentils – showing that food labels overestimate the energy (calories) in these foods. Lab analysis of samples from human dietary intervention studies of brassica vegetables (kale and broccoli) continues. These studies focused on how food preparation methods might alter the absorption, metabolism, and excretion of bioactive glucosinolates from these foods. For Objective 2, analysis of data from a dietary intervention study of berries is continuing. Specifically, investigations at the mitochondrial level have been analyzed to determine how berry and berry components might alter critical energy-metabolism pathways at the cellular level. This research focuses on how these changes in metabolism might explain some of the bodyweight-related changes that have been observed following berry consumption. Studies have also been conducted to characterize the effect of purified cyanidin-3-glucoside or a blackberry extract on cellular metabolism and mitochondrial number in 3T3-L1 adipocyte (“fat”) cells to explore potential mechanisms. In addition to studies with adipocyte cells, complementary studies are underway with mitochondria extracted from blood samples collected from human subjects consuming berry and berry components. Research was initiated to characterize carotenoid and related compounds in corn samples. This collaborative research is being conducted to include enhanced data in USDA’s Food DataCentral. Specifically, corn which has been processed in different ways is being analyzed for these compounds to determine the effect of processing on food quality.


Review Publications
Best, C.M., Sherwood, R., Novotny, J.A., Zhang, S., Pressman, E.K., O’Brien, K.O. 2021. Vitamin D3 kinetics in nonpregnant and pregnant women after a single oral dose of trideuterated vitamin D3. The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. 216:1-8. 106034.
Solverson, P., Albaugh, G.P., Harrison, D.J., Luthria, D.L., Baer, D.J., Novotny, J. 2022. High-dose administration of purified cyanidin-3-glucose or a blackberry extract causes improved mitochondrial function but reduced content in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Frontiers in Nutrition. 1-9.