The Effects of a Mediterranean Diet Intervention on Targeted Plasma Metabolic Biomarkers among US Firefighters: A Pilot Cluster-Randomized Trial
Metabolomics is improving the understanding of the mechanisms of the health effects of diet. Previous research has identified several metabolites associated with the Mediterranean Diet (MedDiet), but knowledge about longitudinal changes in metabolic biomarkers after a MedDiet intervention is scarce. A subsample of 48 firefighters from a cluster-randomized trial at Indianapolis fire stations was randomly selected for the metabolomics study at 12 months of follow up (time point 1), where Group 1 (n = 24) continued for another 6 months in a self-sustained MedDiet intervention, and Group 2 (n = 24), the control group at that time, started with an active MedDiet intervention for 6 months (time point 2). A total of 225 metabolites were assessed at the two time points by using a targeted NMR platform. The MedDiet score improved slightly but changes were non-significant (intervention: 24.2 vs. 26.0 points and control group: 26.1 vs. 26.5 points). The MedDiet intervention led to favorable changes in biomarkers related to lipid metabolism, including lower LDL-C, ApoB/ApoA1 ratio, remnant cholesterol, M-VLDL-CE; and higher HDL-C, and better lipoprotein composition. This MedDiet intervention induces only modest changes in adherence to the MedDiet and consequently in metabolic biomarkers. Further research should confirm these results based on larger study samples in workplace interventions with powerful study designs.