Developing a Novel Set of Diet Pattern Biomarkers Based on Staple Isotope Ratios

Boardwalk to the local church in a Southwestern Alaska community.
Photo by Bert Boyer

Many of our projects dealt with how subsistence diets may protect Yup’ik people from disease. This project tested whether natural chemical markers unique to certain foods can be measured in hair and blood samples, in order to find out how much of those foods people eat.  For example, we can tell who eats a lot of marine foods like fish and seal from a hair sample, because these foods have unique chemical signatures.

Currently CANHR is using these markers to study how fish intake interacts with genetics to affect dosage of warfarin, a commonly used blood thinner, and to understand the role of fish intake in protection from obesity and diabetes.

Diane O’Brien, Ph.D., Project Leader
Kyungcheol Choy, Ph.D., Post Doctoral Fellow
Sarah Nash, Graduate Student
NIH, National Center for Research Resources
under the Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence Program

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