(HealthDay News) – In a population of middle-aged men and women, branched-chain and aromatic amino acid metabolism alterations precede the development of hyperglycemia, and alanine, lactate, tyrosine, and pyruvate predict postchallenge glucose.

Peter Würtz, PhD, of the University of Oulu in Finland, and colleagues investigated the association between circulating metabolites from high throughput profiling with fasting and postload glycemia. Oral glucose tolerance was assessed at baseline and was reexamined after 6.5 years in 618 individuals (mean age, 52 years). Using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, metabolites were quantified from fasting serum samples.

The researchers identified 19 circulating metabolites, including amino acids, gluconeogenic substrates, and fatty acid measures, that correlated significantly with fasting and/or postload glucose. At the 6.5 year follow-up, branched-chain amino acids, phenylalanine, and α1-acid glycoprotein were predictors of both fasting and two-hour glucose, and alanine, lactate, pyruvate, and tyrosine were associated with postload glucose. There was no association between fatty acid measures and glycemia.

“These findings support the notion that alterations in amino acid metabolism precede perturbations in glucose homeostasis, and the circulating amino acid levels may serve as predictors of future glycemia in a general population setting,” the authors write.

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