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Ceramides – Blood lipids provide new insights into the link between diet and diabetes and cardiovascular disease

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Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases are preceded by metabolic alterations. An ongoing study by DZD and DIfE indicates that specific lipid molecules (ceramides), which are produced when the body metabolizes fat, are involved in the development of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The study also links a poor diet to unfavorable ceramide levels in the blood. This could explain, for example, why the risk of diabetes increases with frequent consumption of red and processed meat. As potential biomarkers, ceramides could enable more precise dietary approaches for the prevention of cardiometabolic diseases. The results of the study have just been published in Nature Communication.

Poor eating habits can contribute to the development of heart attacks, strokes and type 2 diabetes (cardiometabolic diseases). However, it is not yet known exactly what biochemical processes underlie this. State-of-the-art, high-throughput techniques make it possible to simultaneously assess a large number of metabolites in the blood and thus provide comprehensive metabolic profiles in large study groups. This shows that specific lipid molecules, ceramides and dihydroceramides, could be critical factors for long-term cardiometabolic health. In addition, diet influences the composition of ceramides and dihydroceramides.

Extensive studies on the influence of diet on blood ceramide levels and possible effects on the development of cardiometabolic diseases in humans are so far lacking. The researchers therefore observed several thousand participants in the EPIC-Potsdam study over a period of several years to assess whether the occurrence of cardiometabolic diseases can be predicted on the basis of specific ceramides influenced by diet. The study was conducted under the direction of the German Institute for Human Nutrition (DIfE) and supported by the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD) and the BMBF-funded “FAME” project. The results of the study show that ceramide profiles provide insight into the development of cardiometabolic diseases and can improve understanding of the influence of diet on disease risk.

Ceramide profiling

At the start of the study, all participants provided information about their diet and blood samples. None of the participants had type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease. In the years that followed, approximately 550 subjects developed cardiovascular disease and nearly 800 developed type 2 diabetes. Using a new analytical platform called lipidomics, researchers profiled ceramides and dihydroceramides in the blood of EPIC-Potsdam participants.

Specific ceramides mediate adverse effects of unhealthy diet

The researchers then investigated whether disease-relevant ceramides and dihydroceramides were also linked to food intake. “People who eat a lot of meat have a higher risk of diabetes. We have now shown for the first time that high consumption of red and processed meat is associated with unfavorable levels of diabetes-related ceramides. Our results suggest that association between meat consumption and diabetes risk may be influenced by the influence on blood ceramide levels,” said first author Clemens Wittenbecher, member of the Department of Molecular Epidemiology at DIfE and the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health Matthias Schulze, head of DIfE’s Department of Molecular Epidemiology and the study’s final author, added that “the detailed metabolic profiles in large cohort studies help us better understand the relationship between diet and disease risk. specific dietary recommendations.

Study opens up new prevention approaches

Cardiometabolic diseases such as heart attacks, strokes and type 2 diabetes account for more than a third of deaths worldwide. The results of the present study identified specific ceramides as potential biomarkers of the relationship between diet and disease risk, and thus could enable more precise nutritional approaches for the prevention of cardiometabolic diseases.


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More information:
C. Wittenbecher et al, profiling of dihydroceramides and ceramides provides insight into the etiology of human cardiometabolic diseases, Nature Communication (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-28496-1

Provided by Deutsches Zentrum für Diabetesforschung DZD

Quote: Ceramides – Blood lipids provide new insights into link between diet and diabetes and cardiovascular disease (2022, February 22) Retrieved February 22, 2022 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-02- ceramidesblood-lipids-insights-link-diet.html

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