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Implications of the variation in biological 18 O natural abundance in body water to inform use of Bayesian methods for modelling total energy expenditure when using doubly labelled water.

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Orford, Elise R 
Donkers, Kevin 
Bluck, Leslie JC 
Venables, Michelle C  ORCID logo


RATIONALE: Variation in 18 O natural abundance can lead to errors in the calculation of total energy expenditure (TEE) when using the doubly labelled water (DLW) method. The use of Bayesian statistics allows a distribution to be assigned to 18 O natural abundance, thus allowing a best-fit value to be used in the calculation. The aim of this study was to calculate within-subject variation in 18 O natural abundance and apply this to our original working model for TEE calculation. METHODS: Urine samples from a cohort of 99 women, dosed with 50 g of 20% 2 H2 O, undertaking a 14-day breast milk intake protocol, were analysed for 18 O. The within-subject variance was calculated and applied to a Bayesian model for the calculation of TEE in a separate cohort of 36 women. This cohort of 36 women had taken part in a DLW study and had been dosed with 80 mg/kg body weight 2 H2 O and 150 mg/kg body weight H2 18 O. RESULTS: The average change in the δ18 O value from the 99 women was 1.14‰ (0.77) [0.99, 1.29], with the average within-subject 18 O natural abundance variance being 0.13‰2 (0.25) [0.08, 0.18]. There were no significant differences in TEE (9745 (1414), 9804 (1460) and 9789 (1455) kJ/day, non-Bayesian, Bluck Bayesian and modified Bayesian models, respectively) between methods. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings demonstrate that using a reduced natural variation in 18 O as calculated from a population does not impact significantly on the calculation of TEE in our model. It may therefore be more conservative to allow a larger variance to account for individual extremes.



Adult, Bayes Theorem, Body Water, Cohort Studies, Energy Metabolism, Female, Humans, Milk, Human, Models, Biological, Oxygen Isotopes

Journal Title

Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom

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Medical Research Council (MR/P01836X/1)
Medical Research Council (MC_PC_13030)