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Nordic Biomarker Seminar

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Biochemical indicators of dietary nutrient intake are called biomarkers. They are used in clinical settings to assess deficiency or excess of nutrients like iron, iodine, vitamin C and D. In nutritional epidemiology biomarkers are used to classify subjects according to their nutrient intake from foods and relate it to a disease. Biomarkers can be classified into poor, intermediate and good according to several criteria. Many factors influence the relationship between nutrient intake and tissue concentration like homeostasis, metabolism, age, gender and nutrient interactions. An important factor to be taken into account is also whether the biomarker reflects short or long term intake. By the initiative of the Working Group on Diet and Nutrition (NKE) an expert seminar with the topic "Biomarkers of Nutritional Intake" was arranged on the17-18th September 2004 in Helsinki. Foremost experts on biomarkers from the United Kingdom and the Nordic Countries presented their views on the state of the art with special emphasis on Nordic conditions. This report contains extended abstracts of topics which were presented at the seminar. The topics ranged from nutritional epidemiology to clinical interventions to validation of new biomarkers.

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Bioavailability of Selected Flavonoids and the Usefulness of their Plasma Concentrations as Biomarkers of Intake

Flavonoids are polyphenolic compounds obtained from various fruits and vegetables. To date, over 6000 flavonoids have been identified, however, a much smaller number are important from a dietary point of view. One of the most studied flavonoids is quercetin, which is a compound that exhibits a wide range of different bioactivities in vitro. Quercetin is obtained from various fruits and vegetables, with onions, tea, and berries being particularly good sources. The flavanones hesperetin and naringenin are among the most important flavonoids from a quantitative intake point of view. Their intake is high because of the common use of citrus fruits and juices, which are their main dietary sources. For a recent review on the flavonoids see ref. 1. We developed analytical methods for the analysis of quercetin, hesperetin and naringenin in human serum (2) and studied their bioavailability. We also investigated their use as biomarkers of intake.

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