Your urine tells more about you than you think

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Urine tests provide important information about our diet, allowing us to anticipate the occurrence of diseases.

Keeping an eye on your urine is always important, it helps to indicate if we are well hydrated. In a recent study, French WHO researchers have shown that a urine test can detect bladder cancer about ten years earlier. A new study, published in the journal Nature Food on June 22, suggests that analyzing our urine would help determine if our diet is healthy and balanced, and prevent the occurrence of certain diseases.

Food influences the metabotype

British researchers from Imperial College London (United Kingdom), in collaboration with members of the University of Illinois (United States), analyzed 46 different metabolites in the urine of 1,848 people in the United States. “Our objective here was to obtain an objectively measured individual food signature,” describe the researchers. For this, they studied the molecules derived from the diet that help characterize the metabolism specific to an individual since they influence our phenotype. The researchers compared these analyzes to “24-hour reminders”, which is what patients report what they ate in the past day.

The results of these analyzes and the comparison showed that the urine samples correspond to what the participants in the diet study reported. Food influences the metabotype, which is the set of metabolites characteristic of an individual. The metabotype, which provides rich information on an individual’s physical phenotype, is easily measured by blood or urine, and provides important information about an individual’s risk of illness. “Urine samples have higher concentrations of food compounds and wider dynamic ranges than in the blood, which is subject to tight homeostatic regulation. Controlled trials have shown that urinary metabolic profiles provide an objective measure of dietary intake, “say the researchers.

Each urine is unique

To refine their research, scientists used urinary biomarkers as signs of food quality. Potassium is used to indicate the consumption of fruits and vegetables. “Sodium and calcium are well known to be linked to blood pressure, and form and citrate to kidney function,” the researchers continue. Likewise, there is an inverse relationship between proline betaine and blood pressure and obesity. “

There is a unique identity for each urine, even if the diet is the same. In another study, also published in Nature Food on June 17, British researchers prescribed patients the exact same diet before studying their metabotype. They realized that everyone has a unique food metabotype, linked to the intestinal microbiome and physiological homeostasis (or ability to maintain balance), as glycemic control shows. “Here we show how different people metabolize the same food very individually,” said John Mathers, research co-author and director of the Human Nutrition Research Center at Newcastle University. This has implications for understanding the development of nutrition-related illnesses and for more personalized dietary advice to improve public health

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