What if you could know whether you were healthy or not based on your urine? Yeah, we thought it was a bit weird too, but it has some basis. Scientists from College London, Newcastle University and Aberystwyth University are developing a new urine analysis method where they can then tell a person’s health and therefore, enable the patient to know what he or she should eat more or cut back on.
The test measures the markers in your urine that belong to the different foods you eat, whether it’d be meats or vegetables. It can also tell the composition of other markers such as your level of fat, sugar or fibre among others. The possibility in the medical realm as well as even bespoke diets (we believe that every body is different and therefore, requires different levels of protein and vitamins etc) are endless with such a test.
It all sounds amazing, right? Maybe a little too much to be real. To cement their findings better, scientists held a study conducted at the MRC-NIHR National Phenome Centre in London and published it in the journal Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology. The focus of the study was to put each one of the test subjects on a different diet, ranging from healthy foods to unhealthy ones.
They carried out the test over a three-day period where scientists made sure to grab urine samples of each subject after their meals. They then used these as a basis for analysing the person’s diet, and see if the result of the urine test correlated with what the participants had been consuming; researchers were able to do this by looking through the metabolites in the urine. The metabolites allowed them to check for the intake of different foods and proteins. Some were even able to specify the type of food they had eaten.
The results of these tests allowed them to create a metabolite profile for what constitutes a “healthy diet”, usually comprising of a high intake of fruits and vegetable. Using this profile, doctors are then able to compare another patient’s profile to see whether they are consuming a healthy diet or not.
The researchers then tested this theory by grabbing the metabolite profile of 225 UK citizens and 66 Denmark citizens from a previous study. With the help of the profiles created, they were able to label the diet of all 291 volunteers accurately.
According to Professor John Mathers, co-author from the Human Nutrition Research Centre at Newcastle University, these results are critical as they allow doctors to correctly assess the person’s diet without having to deal with the problem of biases and errors of recording what they have eaten. After all, many would feel ashamed and guilty for writing down unhealthy foods in their food diary if they know that they shouldn’t have eaten them.
Unfortunately, the test is still in its early stages of development – scientists hope that they can keep on improving on the results and accuracy of the test. The first order of business is to be able to do the test not only in less time but to also be able to predict what a patient has been eating accurately. Doing this would allow doctors to accurately monitor and advise a patient on what they should do to correct their diet.
Another hope that researchers have is to, eventually, make it so that people can test themselves at home and run the results by their doctor; this would be harder to do since it would require individuals to keep proper track of their results.
So what do you think? It would indeed make advances when it comes to dietary studies, plus being able to know what you need to eat more or less of for a better diet would also be a good improvement. We’re keeping our fingers crossed over here so that they’re able to perfect and test out this new method accurately.
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