Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Frontiers in Nutrition




Frontiers Media S.A.


School of Medical and Health Sciences




National Health and Medical Research Council Funding information :

Grant Number

NHMRC Number : 2014349


Rowley, C. E., Lodge, S., Egan, S., Itsiopoulos, C., Christophersen, C. T., Silva, D., . . . D'Vaz N. (2023). Altered dietary behaviour during pregnancy impacts systemic metabolic phenotypes. Frontiers in Nutrition, 10, article 1230480.


Rationale: Evidence suggests consumption of a Mediterranean diet (MD) can positively impact both maternal and offspring health, potentially mediated by a beneficial effect on inflammatory pathways. We aimed to apply metabolic profiling of serum and urine samples to assess differences between women who were stratified into high and low alignment to a MD throughout pregnancy and investigate the relationship of the diet to inflammatory markers. Methods: From the ORIGINS cohort, 51 pregnant women were stratified for persistent high and low alignment to a MD, based on validated MD questionnaires. 1H Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy was used to investigate the urine and serum metabolite profiles of these women at 36 weeks of pregnancy. The relationship between diet, metabolite profile and inflammatory status was investigated. Results: There were clear differences in both the food choice and metabolic profiles of women who self-reported concordance to a high (HMDA) and low (LMDA) Mediterranean diet, indicating that alignment with the MD was associated with a specific metabolic phenotype during pregnancy. Reduced meat intake and higher vegetable intake in the HMDA group was supported by increased levels of urinary hippurate (p = 0.044) and lower creatine (p = 0.047) levels. Serum concentrations of the NMR spectroscopic inflammatory biomarkers GlycA (p = 0.020) and GlycB (p = 0.016) were significantly lower in the HDMA group and were negatively associated with serum acetate, histidine and isoleucine (p < 0.05) suggesting a greater level of plant-based nutrients in the diet. Serum branched chain and aromatic amino acids were positively associated with the HMDA group while both urinary and serum creatine, urine creatinine and dimethylamine were positively associated with the LMDA group. Conclusion: Metabolic phenotypes of pregnant women who had a high alignment with the MD were significantly different from pregnant women who had a poor alignment with the MD. The metabolite profiles aligned with reported food intake. Differences were most significant biomarkers of systemic inflammation and selected gut-microbial metabolites. This research expands our understanding of the mechanisms driving health outcomes during the perinatal period and provides additional biomarkers for investigation in pregnant women to assess potential health risks.



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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.