Biomarkers of a healthy nordic diet : from dietary exposure biomarkers to microbiota signatures in the metabolome
Whole diets and dietary patterns are increasingly highlighted in modern nutrition and health research instead of single food items or nutrients alone. The Healthy Nordic Diet is a dietary pattern typically associated with beneficial health outcomes in observational studies, but results from randomized controlled trials are mixed. Dietary assessment is one of the greatest challenges in observational studies and compliance is a major challenge in dietary interventions. During the last decade, research has shown the great importance of the gut microbiota in health and disease. Studies have have both shown that the Nordic diet affects the gut microbiota and that the gut microbiota predicts the effects of such a diet. Rapid technique developments in the area of high-throughput mass spectrometry have enabled the large-scale use of metabolomics both as an objective measurement of dietary intake as well as in providing the final readout of the endogenous metabolic processes and the impact of the gut microbiota. In this review, we give an update on the current status on biomarkers that reflect a Healthy Nordic Diet or individual components thereof (food intake biomarkers), biomarkers that show the effects of a Healthy Nordic Diet and biomarkers reflecting the role of a Healthy Nordic Diet on the gut microbiota as well as how the gut microbiota or derived molecules may be used to predict the effects of a Healthy Nordic Diet on different outcomes.