Scope: According to Eurostat 2016, approximately 119 million European citizens live at-risk-of-poverty (ROP). This subpopulation is highly diverse by ethnicity, age, and culture in the different EU states, but they all have in common a low income that could represent an increased risk of nutrient deficiencies due to poor nutritional habits. This study aims to investigate the human urine metabolome in the search of common biomarkers representing dietary deficiencies amongst European populations at ROP. Methods and results: 2732 urine samples were collected from 1391 subjects across five different European countries, including the United Kingdom, Finland, Italy, Lithuania, and Serbia, and analyzed using 1H-NMR spectroscopy. The resulting urine metabolome data were explored according to study design factors including economic status, country, and gender. Conclusion: Partitioning of the effects derived from the study design factors using ANOVA-simultaneous component analysis (ASCA) revealed that country and gender effects were responsible for most of the systematic variation. The effect of economic status was, as expected, much weaker than country and gender, but more pronounced in Lithuania than in other countries. Citrate and hippurate were among the most powerful ROP biomarkers. The possible relationship between these markers and nutritional deficiencies amongst the ROP population is discussed.
- urinary metabolome