Quantitative assessment of betainized compounds and associations with dietary and metabolic biomarkers in the randomized study of the healthy Nordic diet (SYSDIET)

Marjo Tuomainen (Corresponding Author), Olli Kärkkäinen, Jukka Leppänen, Seppo Auriola, Marko Lehtonen, Markku J. Savolainen, Kjeld Hermansen, Ulf Risérus, Björn Åkesson, Inga Thorsdottir, Marjukka Kolehmainen, Matti Uusitupa, Kaisa Poutanen, Ursula Schwab, Kati Hanhineva

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    22 Citations (Scopus)


    BACKGROUND: Recently, a group of betainized compounds have been suggested to play a role in health effects in relation to a whole-grain-rich diet. OBJECTIVES: The aims of this study were to develop a quantitative mass spectrometric method for selected betainized compounds in human plasma, and to investigate their association with nutrient intake and measures of metabolic health in participants of the SYSDIET study. METHODS: The SYSDIET study was a controlled randomized intervention including individuals with metabolic syndrome, where the healthy Nordic diet (HND) group increased intakes of whole grains, canola oil, berries, and fish, whereas the control diet (CD) group consumed low-fiber cereal products, milk fat, and restricted amounts of fish and berries. A quantitative LC combined with triple quadrupole MS method for betainized compounds was developed and applied to fasting plasma samples from baseline (week 0) and the end of the intervention (week 18 or 24). Concentrations of betainized compounds were correlated with intakes of selected nutrients and fiber and measures of metabolic health. RESULTS: Pipecolic acid betaine (PAB) concentrations were significantly higher in the HND group than in the CD group (P = 0.00032) at the end of the intervention and correlated directly (P < 0.0001) with intakes of dietary fiber (r = 0.376) and a biomarker related to whole-grain rye intake, namely the ratio of alkylresorcinol C17:0 to C21:0 (r = 0.442). PAB was associated inversely with fasting plasma insulin consistently at the beginning and at the end of the intervention (P < 0.001, r = -0.300; P < 0.01, r = -0.250, respectively), as well as IL-1 receptor antagonist (P < 0.01, r = -0.232 at the beginning; P < 0.01, r = -0.236 at the end) and serum LDL/HDL cholesterol (P < 0.01, r = -0.239 at the beginning; P < 0.01, r = -0.241 at the end). CONCLUSIONS: Among adults with the metabolic syndrome, PAB plasma concentrations were associated with fasting insulin, inflammation, and lipids and were significantly increased with adoption of the HND. Further studies are needed to clarify the biological functions of betainized compounds. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT00992641.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1108-1118
    Number of pages11
    JournalThe American journal of clinical nutrition
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • betainized compounds
    • fiber
    • healthy Nordic diet
    • LC-QQQ-MS
    • pipecolic acid betaine
    • quantitative
    • rye
    • whole grain


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