Demographic, Health and Lifestyle Factors Associated with the Metabolome in Older Women

Sandi L. Navarro, G. A. Nagana Gowda, Lisa F. Bettcher, Robert Pepin, Natalie Nguyen, Mathew Ellenberger, Cheng Zheng, Lesley F. Tinker, Ross L. Prentice, Ying Huang, Tao Yang, Fred K. Tabung, Queenie Chan, Ruey Leng Loo, Simin Liu, Jean Wactawski-Wende, Johanna W. Lampe, Marian L. Neuhouser, Daniel Raftery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Demographic and clinical factors influence the metabolome. The discovery and validation of disease biomarkers are often challenged by potential confounding effects from such factors. To address this challenge, we investigated the magnitude of the correlation between serum and urine metabolites and demographic and clinical parameters in a well-characterized observational cohort of 444 post-menopausal women participating in the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI). Using LC-MS and lipidomics, we measured 157 aqueous metabolites and 756 lipid species across 13 lipid classes in serum, along with 195 metabolites detected by GC-MS and NMR in urine and evaluated their correlations with 29 potential disease risk factors, including demographic, dietary and lifestyle factors, and medication use. After controlling for multiple testing (FDR < 0.01), we found that log-transformed metabolites were mainly associated with age, BMI, alcohol intake, race, sample storage time (urine only), and dietary supplement use. Statistically significant correlations were in the absolute range of 0.2–0.6, with the majority falling below 0.4. Incorporation of important potential confounding factors in metabolite and disease association analyses may lead to improved statistical power as well as reduced false discovery rates in a variety of data analysis settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number514
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • NMR
  • confounders
  • correlates
  • mass spectrometry
  • metabolomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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