Gibson R, Lau CE, Loo RL, Ebbels TMD, Chekmeneva E, Dyer AR, Miura K, Ueshima H, Zhao L, Daviglus ML, Stamler J, Van Horn L, Elliott P, Holmes E, Chan Q.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,  Pages 280–290


To investigate associations of fish consumption and associated urinary metabolites with BP and BMI in free-living populations.


We used cross-sectional data from the International Study of Macro-/Micronutrients and Blood Pressure (INTERMAP), including 4680 men and women (40–59 y) from Japan, China, the United Kingdom, and United States. Dietary intakes were assessed by four 24-h dietary recalls and BP from 8 measurements. Urinary metabolites (2 timed 24-h urinary samples) associated with fish intake acquired from NMR spectroscopy were identified. Linear models were used to estimate BP and BMI differences across categories of intake and per 2 SD higher intake of fish and its biomarkers.


No significant associations were observed between fish intake and BP. There was a direct association with fish intake and BMI in the Japanese population sample (P trend = 0.03; fully adjusted model). In Japan, trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO) and taurine, respectively, demonstrated area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) values of 0.81 and 0.78 in discriminating high against low fish intake, whereas homarine (a metabolite found in shellfish muscle) demonstrated an AUC of 0.80 for high/nonshellfish intake. Direct associations were observed between urinary TMAO and BMI for all regions except Japan (P < 0.0001) and in Western populations between TMAO and BP (diastolic blood pressure: mean difference 1.28; 95% CI: 0.55, 2.02 mmHg; P = 0.0006, systolic blood pressure: mean difference 1.67; 95% CI: 0.60, 2.73 mmHg; P = 0.002).


Urinary TMAO showed a stronger association with fish intake in the Japanese compared with the Western population sample. Urinary TMAO was directly associated with BP in the Western but not the Japanese population sample. Associations between fish intake and its biomarkers and downstream associations with BP/BMI appear to be context specific. INTERMAP is registered at as NCT00005271.