University of Alaska Fairbanks researchers has associated specific chemical trademarks present in human hair with a diet of traditional local – Yup’ik foods. The research could help scientists make connections between diet and long-term health inclinations in Alaska Native populations.
The study was published in the Journal of Nutrition.
The researchers investigated the diets of 68 residents in two Southwest Alaska coastal villages. Each resident participated in four comprehensive dietary interviews and offered hair samples. Scientists analyzed the samples at specific locations along each strand of hair for the ratio between different nitrogen isotopes, which is a potential chemical signal, or biomarker, of diet.
Researchers were able to actively set up a connection between the biomarker and the consumption of conventional meals like fish and marine mammals. Changes in the biomarker along the hair strand additionally confirmed that traditional food intake topped during the summer months.
The consumption of many traditional foods increases the presence of heavier nitrogen isotopes in the hair because these isotopes are more abundant in animals that are higher in the food web, such as marine mammals and fish. Scientists have established that essential relationship earlier than, but the brand new results will allow them to more closely pinpoint the number of traditional foods in a person’s diet, stated senior author Diane O’Brien, a researcher at UAF’s Center for Alaska Native Health Research.
These data are essential to scientists because the consumption of traditional foods in Alaska Native diets has been related to a reduced risk of chronic disease.
They are combining using biomarkers and surveys supplies a more accurate way to measure what people are eating, allowing scientists to make connections between diet and health better. Utilizing biomarkers is relatively cheap and easy. O’Brien stated and is a tool that doesn’t rely heavily on people’s memories of their diets.