Army Enlists Metabolon for 5-Year Research Study of Soldier Health

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They say you are what you eat.

But the U.S. Army wants to learn a lot more about how that affects soldiers' wellbeing and combat readiness.

As a result, the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine (USARIEM) has selected Metabolon, Inc., a health technology company in Morrisville, for a five-year contract to analyze the metabolic profiles of military personnel.

Findings from the research program, which is being conducted by USARIEM’s Military Nutrition Division, will be used to help develop new rations, menus, policies and programs to enable soldiers’ health readiness for combat.

“We are proud to collaborate with the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine on this important research program that will help to ensure U.S. soldiers are in optimal physiological shape when they are called into military operations,” said Greg Michelotti, Ph.D., scientific director of Metabolon.

“Metabolomics provides a deep understanding of health and disease influenced by genes, environment, diet and the gut microbiome. This research program will enable the Army to specify which diets are optimal for peak performance and monitor soldiers’ performance and response to stress during specific training programs.”

Metabolites paint a picture of health

Metabolomics is the study of small molecules, called metabolites, which are the small end products of metabolism. Metabolomics helps scientists increase their understanding of the influences of genes, microbiome, diet, lifestyle and drug treatment on the state of health and progression of disease.

MRE military meals. -- Shutterstock
MRE military meals. -- Shutterstock

Metabolon will perform global metabolomics on up to 14,000 human biological samples, including serum, urine, saliva, tissue and feces over the next five years. As part of the studies, Metabolon will provide full interpretation and analysis of the results to illuminate biomarkers and biochemical pathways observed.  

“We are excited to work with Metabolon to determine how nutrition, environmental stress, and the gut microbiome interact to influence war fighter health, performance, readiness and resilience,” said Phil Karl, nutrition scientist, USARIEM Military Nutrition Division.

“The planned studies will provide insight into the metabolic factors influencing those outcomes and inform the development of nutritional interventions for health and performance optimization.”

Metabolon has multiple contracts with the U.S. military including a partnership with the Million Veteran Program, a national research program to learn how genes, lifestyle and military exposures affect health and illness and a contract with the U.S. Army Center for Environmental Health Research to research metabolic changes in post-traumatic stress disorder.

USARIEM provides solutions to enhance war fighter health and performance through biomedical research. The Institute is internationally recognized as the U.S. Department of Defense’s premier laboratory for war fighter health and performance research and focuses on environmental physiology, physical and cognitive performance and nutrition.

Kelly Duffort, NCBiotech Writer
Wed, 06/03/2020 - 11:22