Metabolomics – Your Life and Death is Written in Your Blood (B100)

In 1999, I invented an advanced mass spectrometry technology platform that could simultaneously measure thousands of small molecules called metabolites, or biochemicals, in biological samples like human blood. I used this technology to analyze tens of thousands of human blood samples from across the world. These samples were taken from persons in various stages of health and disease as well as longitudinally prior to disease incidence or death. This technology continues to be the most advanced of its kind today. Using this technology, I discovered numerous biochemical systems associated with disease and death, as well as those related to health, longevity, and vitality. This technology allowed me to perform the equivalent of a forensic audit, but instead of analyzing every line of income and expenses, I could measure all the biochemical transactions occurring in the human body. 

To access the FREE seminars with full presentations and videos please visit Dr. Goodenowe’s resource site here. This is the article for seminar B100, Blood Tests and Biomarkers (Series B).

I am an expert in all aspects regarding the design and development of targeted metabolite methods using all types of technologies, including liquid chromatography linked to ultra-violet, fluorescence, electrochemical and mass spectrometric detection technologies and gas chromatography linked to flame ionization, nitrogen-phosphorus, and mass spectrometric detection technologies. I have developed hundreds of targeted metabolite detection methods. Developing these tools was key to my research interests in various biochemical systems. Therefore, this pre-existing knowledge and experience made me uniquely qualified to recognize the seismic impact massively parallel genomic technologies would have on science. It also exposed a fatal flaw in the current practice of biochemistry. How can we expect to understand biochemistry if we cannot effectively measure what is happening at the biochemical level under conditions of disease or stress? I realized that an essential tool was missing. To do comprehensive biology, I needed a technology that could measure thousands of biochemicals simultaneously. Since that technology did not exist, I had to stop and create it. Based on the fundamental nature of metabolites, a comprehensive metabolite analysis technology had to be truly non-targeted. This technology could not be a massively parallel targeted technology like genetics-based technologies. I started thinking about how to invent such a technology in the late 1990s and it took me several years to solve the puzzle. I finally solved it in 1999 and then patented it in 2000. The core of the platform is ultra-high-resolution mass spectrometry. At the time, the only mass spectrometry technology that could achieve the resolution I needed was an ion cyclotron. It sounds complicated. And some parts of it are. But conceptually, the technology is straightforward and robust.  

Generally, when people think of chemistry they think of the periodic table of the elements where each element has an atomic mass based on the number of protons and neutrons in the nucleus of the atom. Accordingly, the mass of each unique element generally refers to their nominal mass such that carbon has a mass of 12, nitrogen, 14, oxygen, 16, and so on. However, the true mass of an atom is its isotopic mass, and only carbon has an isotopic mass equal to its nominal mass because carbon is used as the reference mass to which all other isotopic masses are compared. The true mass of nitrogen is 14.00307, the true mass of hydrogen is 1.007825, and the true mass of oxygen is 15.99491. Therefore, every unique combination of atoms will have a unique true mass. For example, glucose has a molecular formula of C6H12O6, which is typically referred to by its nominal mass of 180 and has an isotopic mass of 180.06336. Therefore, if I could achieve a high enough resolution to separate isotopic masses from each other and high enough mass accuracy to measure the mass to four decimal places or more, I could mathematically derive the molecular formula for any metabolite without any a priori knowledge of the metabolite. More importantly, I could do this for all the metabolites simultaneously in a biological sample. Also, once this core capability was achieved, I could do other amazing things such as building de novo biochemical pathways, simultaneously tracking drug metabolism with endogenous metabolite changes. It was mind-blowing. 

ProdromeScan™ is the commercial version of my patented, comprehensive non-targeted metabolomics technology, combined with key traditional biochemical markers. I designed ProdromeScan to be the gateway blood test for people who want to be in control of their health by becoming more involved in their biochemical health. The plethora of blood testing services available to the public is intimidating, and the biochemical interpretations of many of these tests are incomplete, misleading, and in some cases wrong. ProdromeScan measures the most important biomarkers for optimized health and longevity, and it includes all the important plasmalogens. Since ProdromeScan is derived from my comprehensive non-targeted metabolomics technology, it includes biomarkers that you cannot get anywhere else.  

Dr. Goodenowe explains and illustrates the power of metabolomics in seminar B100 – Metabolomics – Your Life and Death is Written in Your Blood.