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J Nutr. 2011 Aug;141(8):1424-31. doi: 10.3945/jn.111.138875. Epub 2011 Jun 15.

A sulfur amino acid-free meal increases plasma lipids in humans.

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Clinical Biomarkers Laboratory, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.


The content of sulfur amino acid (SAA) in a meal affects postprandial plasma cysteine concentrations and the redox potential of cysteine/cystine. Because such changes can affect enzyme, transporter, and receptor activities, meal content of SAA could have unrecognized effects on metabolism during the postprandial period. This pilot study used proton NMR ((1)H-NMR) spectroscopy of human plasma to test the hypothesis that dietary SAA content changes macronutrient metabolism. Healthy participants (18-36 y, 5 males and 3 females) were equilibrated for 3 d to adequate SAA, fed chemically defined meals without SAA for 5 d (depletion), and then fed isoenergetic, isonitrogenous meals containing 56 mg·kg(-1)·d(-1) SAA for 4.5 d (repletion). On the first and last day of consuming the chemically defined meals, a morning meal containing 60% of the daily food intake was given and plasma samples were collected over an 8-h postprandial time course for characterization of metabolic changes by (1)H-NMR spectroscopy. SAA-free food increased peak intensity in the plasma (1)H-NMR spectra in the postprandial period. Orthogonal signal correction/partial least squares-discriminant analysis showed changes in signals associated with lipids, some amino acids, and lactate, with notable increases in plasma lipid signals (TG, unsaturated lipid, cholesterol). Conventional lipid analyses confirmed higher plasma TG and showed an increase in plasma concentration of the lipoprotein lipase inhibitor, apoC-III. The results show that plasma (1)H-NMR spectra can provide useful macronutrient profiling following a meal challenge protocol and that a single meal with imbalanced SAA content alters postprandial lipid metabolism.

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