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J Nutr. 2018 Jun 1;148(6):851-860. doi: 10.1093/jn/nxy053.

Metabolic Footprinting of Fermented Milk Consumption in Serum of Healthy Men.

Author information

Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER), Agroscope, Bern, Switzerland.
Service of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, Lausanne University Hospital, Lausanne, Switzerland.



Fermentation is a widely used method of natural food preservation that has consequences on the nutritional value of the transformed food. Fermented dairy products are increasingly investigated in view of their ability to exert health benefits beyond their nutritional qualities.


To explore the mechanisms underpinning the health benefits of fermented dairy intake, the present study followed the effects of milk fermentation, from changes in the product metabolome to consequences on the human serum metabolome after its ingestion.


A randomized crossover study design was conducted in 14 healthy men [mean age: 24.6 y; mean body mass index (in kg/m2): 21.8]. At the beginning of each test phase, serum samples were taken 6 h postprandially after the ingestion of 800 g of a nonfermented milk or a probiotic yogurt. During the 2-wk test phases, subjects consumed 400 g of the assigned test product daily (200 g, 2 times/d). Serum samples were taken from fasting participants at the end of each test phase. The serum metabolome was assessed through the use of LC-MS-based untargeted metabolomics.


Postprandial serum metabolomes after milk or yogurt intake could be differentiated [orthogonal projections to latent structures discriminant analysis (OPLS-DA) Q2 = 0.74]. Yogurt intake was characterized by higher concentrations of 7 free amino acids (including proline, P = 0.03), reduced concentrations of 5 bile acids (including glycocholic acid, P = 0.04), and modulation of 4 indole derivative compounds (including indole lactic acid, P = 0.01). Fasting serum samples after 2 wk of daily intake of milk or yogurt could also be differentiated based on their metabolic profiles (OPLS-DA Q2 = 0.56) and were discussed in light of the postprandial results.


Metabolic pathways related to amino acids, indole derivatives, and bile acids were modulated in healthy men by the intake of yogurt. Further investigation to explore novel health effects of fermented dairy products is warranted.This trial was registered at as NCT02230345.

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