Physical activity-related metabolites are associated with mortality: Findings from the atherosclerosis risk in communities (aric) study

Academic Article


  • Habitual physical activity can diminish the risk of premature death. Identifying a pattern of metabolites related to physical activity may advance our understanding of disease etiology. We quantified 245 serum metabolites in 3802 participants from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study using chromatography–mass spectrometry. We regressed self-reported moderate-to-vigorous intensity leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) against each metabolite, adjusting for traditional risk factors. A standardized metabolite risk score (MRS) was constructed to examine its association with all-cause mortality using the Cox proportional hazard model. We identified 10 metabolites associated with LTPA (p <2.04 × 10−4 ) and established that an increase of one unit of the metabolic equivalent of task-hours per week (MET·hr·wk−1 ) in LTPA was associated with a 0.012 SD increase in MRS. During a median of 27.5 years of follow-up, we observed 1928 deaths. One SD increase of MRS was associated with a 10% lower risk of death (HR = 0.90, 95% CI: 0.85–0.95). The highest vs. the lowest MRS quintile rank was associated with a 22% reduced risk of death (HR = 0.78, 95% CI: 0.62–0.94). The effects were consistent across race and sex groups. In summary, we identified a set of metabolites associated with LTPA and an MRS associated with a lower risk of death. Our study provides novel insights into the potential mechanisms underlying the health impacts of physical activity.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Metabolites  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Xu J; Liu G; Hegde SM; Palta P; Boerwinkle E; Gabriel KP; Yu B
  • Start Page

  • 1
  • End Page

  • 13
  • Volume

  • 11
  • Issue

  • 1