U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


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Agricultural Research Magazine 60(4): April 2012 pp. 10-11; ISSN 0002-161X


At any given time, blood circulating through your body carries thousands of small molecules known as “metabolites.” Medical and nutrition researchers are eager to discover more about these compounds—amino acids, sugars, fats, and more—that are formed in and by our bodies.

Metabolites are of interest because the presence and concentrations of some of them can provide meaningful profiles, sometimes referred to as “metabolic signatures” or “fingerprints.”

In the future, for instance, yourmetabolic fingerprint—detected in a small sample of blood taken for your annual physical examination—might prove to be a reliable indicator of your health and a predictor of certain diseases. This information could then be used to create personalized recommendations about what you should eat for optimal health.