Why are Metabolites different on same sample from different analysis?

A reader forward this image from BiomeSight to me:

Apart from wording being questionable (former technical writer speaking) because many people will read it as needing to be increased whereas the chart on the right clearly shows that it needs to be decreased.

Same sample on MP reports:

  • D-Lactic Acid 18%ile. Thus much lower than the mid point! A Contradiction! D-Lactic acid is the bad form of lactic acid. L-Lactic acid is the very good form!

A brief discussion of how metabolites are estimated. There are several approaches used by retail providers:

  • Based on clinical studies reporting that a certain bacteria produces this compound.
    • Then just total up the count of all such bacteria
  • Based on clinical studies reporting that a certain bacteria produces this compound AND the amount that each produces.
    • Then just total up the count times the amount of all such bacteria
  • Based on KEGG: Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes and derive the average amount per species (and/or genus)
    • Then just total up the count times the amount of all such bacteria
    • This is the method that Microbiome Prescription [MP] uses.

There are additional methods but most are significantly more expensive. Working from clinical studies always have the issue of some bacteria not being studies – hence estimates may be off.

Example of one metabolite (Reuterin) showing different amounts per bacteria according to strains

From prediction to function using evolutionary genomics: human-specific ecotypes of Lactobacillusreuteri have diverse probiotic functions[2014].

Bottom Line

There is no “right” answer. You should ask the provider of the estimates exactly how are metabolites computed (and data sources). In the case of MP, the source and method are clearly identified above. Additionally, the site should provide some education on the significance of each. Often metabolites are requested by customers and the provider does an “economical” analysis and implementation to satisfy the customer request; the results may be less than ideal or complete.

Often education is needed. The reader that emailed me, asked “should I not stop all lactate/lactic acid producing probiotics“. NO…. because L-Lactic acid is good and inhibits bad bacteria. So I checked L-Lactate (commonly just called Lactate) – see below.

Description on MP of this Metabolite

  1. D-Lactic Acidosis: Elevated levels of D-lactic acid in the blood can lead to a condition known as D-lactic acidosis. This occurs when the body’s ability to metabolize D-lactic acid is impaired or overwhelmed. It’s often associated with specific conditions such as short bowel syndrome (SBS) or other gastrointestinal disorders where there’s an increase in the production and absorption of D-lactic acid.
  2. Neurological Symptoms: D-lactic acidosis can lead to neurological symptoms, including confusion, impaired cognitive function, difficulty concentrating, and altered mental status. Severe cases may even lead to coma.
  3. Gastrointestinal Symptoms: Symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, and bloating can occur in individuals with D-lactic acidosis. These gastrointestinal symptoms are often related to the underlying conditions causing D-lactic acid accumulation.
  4. Metabolic Acidosis: Elevated D-lactic acid levels can contribute to metabolic acidosis, an imbalance in the body’s acid-base equilibrium, leading to a decrease in blood pH. This can have systemic effects and affect various organs and bodily functions.
  5. Impaired Energy Production: D-lactic acid can interfere with cellular metabolism and energy production, potentially contributing to fatigue and weakness.

Looking up Lactate Value

Clicking on this tab button shows the thousands of metabolites that can be estimated on MP from KEGG data which we can search over.

and we find Lactate (C3H6O3) listed at 27%. IMHO that is low and you want to increase it. The description provided on this is below.

  1. Energy Production: Lactate is produced as a result of the breakdown of glucose during anaerobic metabolism when the body’s demand for energy exceeds its oxygen supply. It serves as an alternative fuel source, particularly for muscles and red blood cells, and can be converted back into glucose (gluconeogenesis) in the liver.
  2. Exercise and Muscle Function: During intense physical activity, the body produces lactate as muscles work vigorously, leading to temporary increases in blood lactate levels. Contrary to earlier beliefs associating lactate with muscle fatigue and soreness, lactate is not the primary cause of muscle fatigue but is rather utilized as a fuel by muscles and other tissues.
  3. Lactate Threshold: The lactate threshold is the exercise intensity at which lactate begins to accumulate in the blood more rapidly than it can be cleared. Athletes often train to improve their lactate threshold, as it correlates with performance and endurance in certain sports.
  4. Clinical Implications: Elevated lactate levels in the blood (lactic acidosis) can occur due to various conditions, such as sepsis, shock, hypoxia, liver disease, certain medications, or metabolic disorders. Severe lactic acidosis can lead to symptoms such as rapid breathing, nausea, abdominal pain, and, in severe cases, it can be life-threatening if left untreated.
  5. Health Conditions: While lactate plays essential roles in energy metabolism, excessive accumulation due to underlying health conditions or imbalances can lead to health issues. Conditions associated with lactic acidosis require proper medical evaluation and treatment.
  6. Diagnostic Tool: Blood lactate levels are sometimes measured in clinical settings to assess tissue oxygenation, especially in emergency and critical care situations, as elevated lactate levels can indicate tissue hypoperfusion and metabolic stress.