Changes in urinary stable nitrogen isotope ratios during controlled short-term energy deficit: a proof-of-principle analysis

Paulina Wasserfurth, Frank Huelsemann, Karsten Koehler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Stable isotope ratios of nitrogen (δ15N) have previously been shown to increase in human hair during periods of catabolism. The goal of this study was to assess changes in δ15N in urinary urea (δ15Nurea) and Δ15N during a short-term controlled energy deficit. Methods: We analyzed samples from 6 recreationally active men (25 ± 1 years, BMI: 23.5 ± 0.6 kg/m2) who participated in a repeated measures cross-over study involving 4 days of energy deficit (ED, ~ 15 kcal/kg FFM) without and with exercise (ED-EX, ED + EX) and control conditions in energy balance (CON-EX, CON + EX). δ15Nurea was analyzed from urine samples, and Δ15N was calculated as δ15Nurea–δ15Ndiet, with δ15Ndiet obtained from diet prescriptions. Results: δ15Nurea was significantly elevated in ED-EX (4.4 ± 0.2‰) when compared to CON-EX (3.7 ± 0.1‰; p = 0.026) and CON + EX (3.34 ± 0.13‰, p = 0.001). As a consequence, Δ15N was positive in ED-EX (0.2 ± 0.2‰) and remained negative in ED + EX (− 0.6 ± 0.5‰), CON-EX (− 1.0 ± 0.2) and CON + EX (− 1.1 ± 0.2). Differences in Δ15N were significant between ED-EX and CON-EX (p = 0.005) and ED-EX and CON + EX (p = 0.006). Conclusion: Our results suggest that δ15Nurea and subsequently Δ15N are responsive to a short-term energy deficit, likely due to increased amino acid oxidation to meet energy demands and preferable elimination of 14N.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)919-926
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Nutrition
Volume63
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2024
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Biomarkers
  • Low energy availability
  • Weight loss

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