Variation in the human lipidome associated with coffee consumption as revealed by quantitative targeted metabolomics

Elisabeth Altmaier, Gabi Kastenmüller, Werner Römisch-Margl, Barbara Thorand, Klaus M. Weinberger, Jerzy Adamski, Thomas Illig, Angela Döring, Karsten Suhre

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The effect of coffee consumption on human health is still discussed controversially. Here, we report results from a metabolomics study of coffee consumption, where we measured 363 metabolites in blood serum of 284 male participants of the Cooperative Health Research in the Region of Augsburg study population, aged between 55 and 79 years. A statistical analysis of the association of metabolite concentrations and the number of cups of coffee consumed per day showed that coffee intake is positively associated with two classes of sphingomyelins, one containing a hydroxy-group (SM(OH)) and the other having an additional carboxy-group (SM(OH,COOH)). In contrast, long- and medium-chain acylcarnitines were found to decrease with increasing coffee consumption. It is noteworthy that the concentration of total cholesterol also rises with an increased coffee intake in this study group. The association observed here between these hydroxylated and carboxylated sphingolipid species and coffee intake may be induced by changes in the cholesterol levels. Alternatively, these molecules may act as scavengers of oxidative species, which decrease with higher coffee intake. In summary, we demonstrate strong positive associations between coffee consumption and two classes of sphingomyelins and a negative association between coffee consumption and long-and medium-chain acylcarnitines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1357-1365
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Nutrition and Food Research
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 20 Nov 2009



  • Acylcarnintine
  • Coffee
  • MS
  • Metabolomics
  • Sphingomyelin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science

Cite this

Altmaier, E., Kastenmüller, G., Römisch-Margl, W., Thorand, B., Weinberger, K. M., Adamski, J., Illig, T., Döring, A., & Suhre, K. (2009). Variation in the human lipidome associated with coffee consumption as revealed by quantitative targeted metabolomics. Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, 53(11), 1357-1365.