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The metabolic phenotype (metabotype) describes the metabolic state of an individual. There is an expectation that assigning individuals to a particular metabotype will provide valuable information in future nutrition research and in particular will play a role in personalised nutrition. We developed the concept of using the metabolic phenotype to identify responders to a nutritional intervention in the context of vitamin D. Several observational studies have identified relationships between vitamin D levels and markers of the metabolic syndrome; however intervention studies have been inconclusive. This study examined whether metabolic phenotyping could identify individuals who respond to vitamin D supplementation in terms of the metabolic syndrome. k-means clustering and 1H NMR metabolomic analysis were used to explore responsive phenotypes. Using an unsupervised data mining technique on a set of targeted biomarkers we identified five unique phenotypes with distinct metabolomic profiles. When the effects of the intervention were examined in these phenotypes individually, a vitamin D responsive metabotype was identified. This cluster, characterised by lower serum 25(OH)D and higher levels of adipokines, showed significant responses in insulin, HOMA-score and CRP following supplementation. Metabolomic analysis revealed further metabolic changes in this group and the extent of change in 25(OH)D correlated negatively with changes in fasting glucose. In conclusion, metabolic profiling based on markers of the metabolic syndrome revealed a phenotype responsive to vitamin D supplementation. Further development of these concepts will enhance the field of personalised nutrition.

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