December 18, 2020 12:26 PM

Metabolism in Young Adulthood Predicts Cardiovascular Disease Later On

New findings give reason to pay attention to metabolic dysfunction well before middle age.

drawing of heart in blue ink on lined yellow paper with words lab note on bottom right in yellow and blue font

A new study connects people’s metabolism in their 30s to their chance of having a heart attack, stroke, heart failure or other cardiovascular disease years later.

“These results highlight the importance of metabolic dysfunction early in adulthood on mid-life cardiovascular risk, and underscore the importance of efforts targeting abnormal metabolism in young adulthood to interrupt cardiovascular disease at its early stage,” says lead author Venkatesh Murthy, M.D., Ph.D., an associate professor and a cardiologist at the Michigan Medicine Frankel Cardiovascular Center.

Researchers from Michigan Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital and the Broad Institute examined circulating metabolites in more than 2,000 participants in their 30s who took part in a longitudinal study known as CARDIA (the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study.)

This substudy included a diverse group of participants, with 45% identifying as Black and 45% identifying as female.

“We used high-throughput metabolite profiling, finding signatures of metabolites that were related to long-term cardiovascular disease,” says senior author Ravi Shah, M.D., an assistant professor and a physician from the Massachusetts General Hospital. “Metabolic dysfunction is one of the earliest risk factors for cardiovascular disease.”

Murthy and Shah note they also found these adverse metabolic signatures in a separate group of individuals in the Framingham Heart Study. They were again related to cardiovascular outcomes, particularly in the younger Framingham participants.

Paper cited: “Comprehensive Metabolic Phenotyping Refines Cardiovascular Risk in Young Adults,” Circulation. DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.120.047689