The chemicals in urine can predict whether a person is likely to become obese in future, says a new research. The researchers have identified chemical markers in urine associated with body mass, providing insights into how obesity causes disease.
"These findings provide possible starting points for new approaches to preventing and treating obesity and its associated diseases," said senior author of the study Jeremy Nicholson, professor at Imperial College London.
Urine contains a variety of chemicals known as metabolites, from a vast range of biochemical processes in the body. Technologies that analyze the metabolic makeup of a sample can therefore offer huge amounts of information that reflects both a person's genetic make up and lifestyle factors, the study noted.
The researchers analyzed urine samples from over 2,000 volunteers in the US and Britain. They found 29 different metabolic products whose levels correlated with the person's body mass index, and how they fit together in a complex network that links many different parts of the body.
Some of these metabolites are produced by bacteria that live in the gut, highlighting the potentially important role these organisms play in obesity.
"Our results point to patterns of metabolic markers in the urine associated with obesity. It may be possible to identify non-obese people who have such patterns in their urine profile. These people could be at risk of developing obesity and metabolic diseases, and might benefit from personalized preventative interventions," said professor Paul Elliott from Imperial College London.
Being overweight or obese is associated with higher risk of heart diseases, stroke, diabetes and cancer, but the mechanisms connecting body fat and disease are not well understood.
The findings appeared in the journal Science Translational Medicine.