The emerging role of carbon isotope ratio determination in health research and medical diagnostics
Variations in the isotopic signature of carbon in biological samples (e.g. breath, blood and tissues) can be used to monitor shifts in whole body metabolism. As a conservative recorder of our diet, changes in the isotopic signature of carbon in biological samples provide an objective means to distinguish dietary patterns and the relationship with diseases. In addition, metabolic discrimination of carbon within the body can be informative regarding changes in the body's metabolic fuel usage during situations where shifts in the macronutrient oxidation ratio are expected. Therefore, changes in the isotopic signature over time have proven to be a tremendously powerful and sensitive means of detecting and measuring changes in steady-state systems. As such, this review focuses on how a naturally occurring ratio of stable isotopes of carbon (13C/12C) can be used as a biomarker for nutritional and metabolic status, altered macronutrient metabolism, and health and disease.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Novel stable isotopes in health sciences