On the national level, nutritional monitoring requires the assessment of reliable representative dietary intake data. To achieve this, standardized tools need to be developed, validated, and kept up-to-date with recent developments in food products and the nutritional behavior of the population. Recently, the human intestinal microbiome has been identified as an essential mediator between nutrition and host health. Despite growing interest in this connection, only a few associations between the microbiome, nutrition, and health have been clearly established. Available studies paint an inconsistent picture, partly due to a lack of standardization.

First, we aim to verify if food consumption, as well as energy and nutrient intake of the German population, can be recorded validly by means of the dietary recall software GloboDiet, which will be applied in the German National Nutrition Monitoring. Second, we aim to obtain high-quality data using standard methods on the microbiome, combined with dietary intake data and additional fecal sample material, and to also assess the functional activity of the microbiome by measuring microbial metabolites.

Healthy female and male participants aged between 18 and 79 years were recruited. Anthropometric measurements included body height and weight, BMI, and bioelectrical impedance analysis. For validation of the GloboDiet software, current food consumption was assessed with a 24-hour recall. Nitrogen and potassium concentrations were measured from 24-hour urine collections to enable comparison with the intake of protein and potassium estimated by the GloboDiet software. Physical activity was measured over at least 24 hours using a wearable accelerometer to validate the estimated energy intake. Stool samples were collected in duplicate for a single time point and used for DNA isolation and subsequent amplification and sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene to determine microbiome composition. For the identification of associations between nutrition and the microbiome, the habitual diet was determined using a food frequency questionnaire covering 30 days.

In total, 117 participants met the inclusion criteria. The study population was equally distributed between the sexes and 3 age groups (18-39, 40-59, and 60-79 years). Stool samples accompanying habitual diet data (30-day food frequency questionnaire) are available for 106 participants. Current diet data and 24-hour urine samples for the validation of GloboDiet are available for 109 participants, of which 82 cases also include physical activity data.

We completed the recruitment and sample collection of the ErNst study with a high degree of standardization. Samples and data will be used to validate the GloboDiet software for the German National Nutrition Monitoring and to compare microbiome composition and nutritional patterns.

Trial Registration:
German Register of Clinical Studies DRKS00015216;

Direct Link:

Journal: JMIR Research Protocols. 2023 Apr 7;12(1):e42529.

Keywords: clinical trial, diet, dietary assessment, energy expenditure, human intestinal microbiome, nutrient intake, nutrition,

Applications: Energy Expenditure,

CamNtech Reference: AH23008

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