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Metabolomics may help to elucidate mechanisms underlying diet-disease relationships and identify novel risk factors for disease. To inform the design and interpretation of such research, evidence on diet-metabolite associations and cross-assay comparisons is needed. We aimed to compare nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) metabolite profiles between meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians and vegans, and to compare NMR measurements to those from mass spectrometry (MS), clinical chemistry and capillary gas-liquid chromatography (GC). We quantified 207 serum NMR metabolite measures in 286 male participants of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-Oxford cohort. Using univariate and multivariate analyses, we found that metabolite profiles varied by diet group, especially for vegans; the main differences compared to meat-eaters were lower levels of docosahexaenoic acid, total n-3 and saturated fatty acids, cholesterol and triglycerides in very-low-density lipoproteins, various lipid factions in high-density lipoprotein, sphingomyelins, tyrosine and creatinine, and higher levels of linoleic acid, total n-6, polyunsaturated fatty acids and alanine. Levels in fish-eaters and vegetarians differed by metabolite measure. Concentrations of 13 metabolites measured using both NMR and MS, clinical chemistry or GC were mostly similar. In summary, vegans' metabolite profiles were markedly different to those of men consuming animal products. The studied metabolomics platforms are complementary, with limited overlap between metabolite classes.

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European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-Oxford, fish-eaters, mass spectrometry (MS), meat-eaters, metabolomics, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), vegans, vegetarians