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Personalized nutrition and prevention of cardiometabolic diseases

Our primary research focus is to understand the biological mechanisms of fatty acids on human health. We utilize large scale datasets from controlled dietary intervention studies to define molecular profiles which can be used to predict and understand who some individuals responds better to intervention than others.

About the group

The group wants to get a comprehensive understanding of the role of diet and dietary fat on biological processes in humans by integrating large scale datasets from controlled dietary intervention studies.

The group uses randomized controlled postprandial and short and long term dietary intervention studies and applies large scale datasets, such as whole genome transcriptome (in peripheral blood mononuclear cells [PBMCs]) and plasma  metabolome, to investigate the physiological and molecular mechanisms of diet and in particular dietary fat on cardiometabolic risk markers.

Our goal is to obtain knowledge by identifying molecular profiles or metabotypes that can be used for future dietary guidelines, which may be more tailor made for specific subgroups or individuals (personalized nutrition) to prevent lifestyle diseases and promote healthy ageing.



  1. Dynamic longitudinal exposome trajectories in cardiac and metabolic non-communicable disases (LONGITOOLS) (financed by EU) Aim of incorporate an exposome-wide approach to the developmental and life-course origin of cardiovascular NCD. We will use and enrich a unique repertoire of high (multi-)-dimensional and overlapping data along the life-course, including prospective birth cohorts and longitudinal studies in adults, register-based cohorts, randomised control trials and biobanks.
  2. Postprandial effects of existing and new innovative dairy products (financed by Research Council of Norway). Aim of understanding the underlying mechanisms of fat intake from different sources of dairy products on lipids, inflammation and satiety in circulation and PBMCs in healthy lean and overweight subjects.
  3. OPTIEGG (financed by Research Council of Norway). Aim of documenting health effects of eggshall membrane in humans.
  4. Marine omega-3 fatty acids and health - use of systems biology in controlled dietary intervention studies (financed by Research Council of Norway). Aim of integrating large scale data sets (transcriptomics and lipidomics) to understand the underlying mechanisms of the health beneficial effects of fish oil on healthy individuals.
  5. Effects of fat quality on blood lipids and immune response. Aim of understanding the underlying mechanisms of the health beneficial effects of replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat from plant oils on lipids and inflammatory markers, both in circulation and in PBMCs in healthy subjects with moderate hypercholesterolemia.
  6. Health effects of Nordic diet (SYSDIET) (financed by Nordforsk). Aim of understanding the underlying mechanisms of the health beneficial effects of the Nordic diet based on the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations on glucose tolerance, lipids and inflammatory markers, both in circulation and PBMCs in subject with metabolic syndrome.
  7. Health effects of krill oil, lean and fatty fish. Aim of understanding the underlying mechanisms of the health beneficial effects of long chain omega-3 fatty acids from either krill oil or lean and fatty fish in healthy subjects with moderate hypertriglyceridemia.

Long-term objectives

  • Prevent chronic diseases in the population by providing evidence based knowledge of the role of diet and fat quality on cardiometabolic health.
  • Increase the understanding of how fat quality influences metabolic pathways and homeostasis, by studying how fat intake regulates the transcriptome and metabolome and how this regulation is disturbed in cardiometabolic diseases.
  • Apply integrated large-scale data (transcriptome and metabolome data) and cardiometabolic risk markers from postprandial and long term controlled dietary intervention studies and create molecular profiles and metabotypes, which can be used to predict response to intervention.
  • Establish molecular profiles and metabotypes (group of people with same metabolic response), and test if these respond differently to dietary fat.
  • Apply both prospective and retrospective SNP genotyping and advanced sequencing technology to understand to what extent individual genotypes contribute to the dietary response.


The most important synergy is to apply omics-based technologies (chemistry, genetics and molecular biology) and data integration (bioinformatics), in controlled dietary intervention studies in order to prevent cardiometabolic disorders (clinical nutrition and medicine). This will give us the possibility to analyze simultaneously thousands of molecules and parameters from controlled dietary intervention studies. These results will give us a deeper understanding of dynamic changes in molecular components and biological pathways across health and disease in groups of individuals, and even within an individual.

The group collaborates with internal research groups at the Department of Nutrition and external partners.

The most important collaborators are:

Professor Kirsten B. Holven in the field of clinical nutrition, diet, atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease and dietary intervention studies at Department of Nutrition, UiO, and Professor Lene F. Andersen in the field of nutrition epidemiology, Department of Nutrition, UiO.

The group is partner of a Nordic Center of Excellence in food, nutrition and health called Systems biology in controlled dietary interventions and cohort studies (SYSDIET) and collaborate in particular with Professor Carsten Carlberg, and Professor. Marjukka Kolehmainen at the University of Eastern Finland in the field of epigenetics and transcriptomics, and Professor Lars O Dragsted at the University of Copenhagen in untargeted metabolomics, and Professor Karl-Heinz Herzig at the University of Oulu in the field of gut peptides, medicine, and physical activity.

In bioinformatics and statistics, the group collaborate with Professor Magne Thoresen, Professor Arnoldo Frigessi, and post doc  Xiaoran Lai at UiO, and dr. Larry Parnell at Tuft University, Boston. Recently, the group has also started a collaboration with Jose Ordovas at Tuft University, Boston in presonalized nutrition.


Ulven SM, Holven KB, Rundblad A, Myhrstad MCW, Leder L, Dahlman I, Mello VD, Schwab U, Carlberg C, Pihlajamäki J, Hermansen K, Dragsted LO, Gunnarsdottir I, Cloetens L, Åkesson B, Rosqvist F, Hukkanen J, Herzig KH, Savolainen MJ, Risérus U, Thorsdottir I, Poutanen KS, Arner P, Uusitupa M, Kolehmainen M.An Isocaloric Nordic Diet Modulates RELA and TNFRSF1A Gene Expression in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells in Individuals with Metabolic Syndrome-A SYSDIET Sub-Study.Nutrients. 2019 Dec 3;11(12). pii: E2932. doi: 10.3390/nu11122932.

Gjevestad GO, Holven KB, Rundblad A, Flatberg A, Myhrstad M, Karlsen K, Mutt SJ, Herzig KH, Ottestad I, Ulven SM.Increased protein intake affects pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) processing, immune function and IGF signaling in peripheral blood mononuclear cells of home-dwelling old subjects using a genome-wide gene expression approach. Genes Nutr. 2019 Nov 28;14:32. doi: 10.1186/s12263-019-0654-6. eCollection 2019.

Narverud I, Christensen JJ, Bakke SS, Ulven SM, Rundblad A, Aukrust P, Espevik T, Bogsrud MP, Retterstøl K, Ueland T, Halvorsen B, Holven KB. Profiling of immune-related gene expression in children with familial hypercholesterolaemia. J Intern Med. 2019 Oct 21. doi: 10.1111/joim.13001. 

Narverud I, Bogsrud MP, Øyri LKL, Ulven SM, Retterstøl K, Ueland T, Mulder M, Roeters van Lennep J, Halvorsen B, Aukrust P, Veierød MB, Holven KB.Lipoprotein(a) concentration is associated with plasma arachidonic acid in subjects with familial hypercholesterolaemia. Br J Nutr. 2019 Jul 2:1-10. doi: 10.1017/S0007114519001600.

Myhrstad MCW, de Mello VD, Dahlman I, Kolehmainen M, Paananen J, Rundblad A, Carlberg C, Olstad OK, Pihlajamäki J, Holven KB, Hermansen K, Dragsted LO, Gunnarsdottir I, Cloetens L, Storm MU, Åkesson B, Rosqvist F, Hukkanen J, Herzig KH, Risérus U, Thorsdottir I, Poutanen KS, Savolainen MJ, Schwab U, Arner P, Uusitupa M, Ulven SM.Healthy Nordic Diet Modulates the Expression of Genes Related to Mitochondrial Function and Immune Response in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells from Subjects with Metabolic Syndrome-A SYSDIET Sub-Study. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2019 Apr 9:e1801405. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201801405. 

Telle-Hansen VH, Holven KB, Ulven SM.Impact of a Healthy Dietary Pattern on Gut Microbiota and Systemic Inflammation in Humans. Nutrients. 2018 Nov 16;10(11). pii: E1783. doi: 10.3390/nu10111783. Review.


CB Barnung R, H Nøst T, Ulven SM, Skeie G, S Olsen K.Coffee Consumption and Whole-Blood Gene Expression in the Norwegian Women and Cancer Post-Genome Cohort. Nutrients. 2018 Aug 9;10(8). pii: E1047. doi: 10.3390/nu10081047.


Larsen SV, Holven KB, Ottestad I, Dagsland KN, Myhrstad MCW, Ulven SM. Plasma fatty acid levels and gene expression related to lipid metabolism in peripheral blood mononuclear cells: a cross-sectional study in healthy subjects. Genes Nutr. 2018 Apr 10;13:9. doi: 10.1186/s12263-018-0600-z. eCollection 2018. Erratum in: Genes Nutr. 2018 Jul 5;13:16.


Rundblad A, Holven KB, Bruheim I, Myhrstad MC, Ulven SM. Effects of fish and krill oil on gene expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells and circulating markers of inflammation: a randomised controlled trial. J Nutr Sci. 2018 Mar 21;7:e10. doi: 10.1017/jns.2018.2. eCollection 2018


Rundblad A, Holven KB, Bruheim I, Myhrstad MC, Ulven SM. Effects of krill oil and lean and fatty fish on cardiovascular risk markers: a randomised controlled trial.  J Nutr Sci. 2018 Jan 17;7:e3. doi: 10.1017/jns.2017.64. eCollection 2018.


Øyri LKL, Hansson P, Bogsrud MP, Narverud I, Florholmen G, Leder L, Byfuglien MG, Veierød MB, Ulven SM, Holven KB.Delayed postprandial TAG peak after intake of SFA compared with PUFA in subjects with and without familial hypercholesterolaemia: a randomised controlled trial. Br J Nutr. 2018 May;119(10):1142-1150. doi: 10.1017/S0007114518000673.


Ottestad I, Ulven SM, Øyri LKL, Sandvei KS, Gjevestad GO, Bye A, Sheikh NA, Biong AS, Andersen LF, Holven KB. Reduced plasma concentration of branched-chain amino acids in sarcopenic older subjects: a cross-sectional study. Br J Nutr. 2018 Aug;120(4):445-453. doi: 10.1017/S0007114518001307. Epub 2018 Jun 18.


Holven KB, Narverud I, van Lennep JR, Versmissen J, Øyri LKL, Galema-Boers A, Langslet G, Ulven SM, Veierød MB, Retterstøl K, Bogsrud MP. Sex differences in cholesterol levels from birth to 19 years of age may lead to increased cholesterol burden in females with FH. J Clin Lipidol. 2018 May - Jun;12(3):748-755.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.jacl.2018.02.021. Epub 2018 Mar 9.


Ottestad I, Løvstad AT, Gjevestad GO, Hamarsland H, Šaltytė Benth J, Andersen LF, Bye A, Biong AS, Retterstøl K, Iversen PO, Raastad T, Ulven SM, Holven KB. Intake of a Protein-Enriched Milk and Effects on Muscle Mass and Strength. A 12-Week Randomized Placebo Controlled Trial among Community-Dwelling Older Adults. J Nutr Health Aging. 2017;21(10):1160-1169. doi: 10.1007/s12603-016-0856-1.


Telle-Hansen VH, Christensen JJ, Ulven SM, Holven KB.Does dietary fat affect inflammatory markers in overweight and obese individuals?-a review of randomized controlled trials from 2010 to 2016. Genes Nutr. 2017 Oct 4;12:26. doi: 10.1186/s12263-017-0580-4. eCollection 2017. Review.


Narverud I, Christensen JJ, Ottestad IO, Ulven SM, Holven KB. Misvisende om kosthold i ny nasjonal retningslinje for forebygging av hjerte- og karsykdommer. Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2017 Oct 30;137(20). doi: 10.4045/tidsskr.17.0834. Print 2017 Oct 31. Norwegian.


Berild A, Holven KB, Ulven SM.Recommended Nordic diet and risk markers for cardiovascular disease. Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2017 May 23;137(10):721-726. doi: 10.4045/tidsskr.16.0243. eCollection 2017 May. Review. English, Norwegian.


Rundblad A, Holven KB, Ottestad I, Myhrstad MC, Ulven SM.High-quality fish oil has a more favourable effect than oxidised fish oil on intermediate-density lipoprotein and LDL subclasses: a randomised controlled trial. Br J Nutr. 2017 May;117(9):1291-1298. doi: 10.1017/S0007114517001167. Epub 2017 May 31.


Gjevestad GO, Hamarsland H, Raastad T, Ottestad I, Christensen JJ, Eckardt K, Drevon CA, Biong AS, Ulven SM, Holven KB.Gene expression is differentially regulated in skeletal muscle and circulating immune cells in response to an acute bout of high-load strength exercise. Genes Nutr. 2017 Mar 3;12:8. doi: 10.1186/s12263-017-0556-4. eCollection 2017.


Gjevestad GO, Ottestad I, Biong AS, Iversen PO, Retterstøl K, Raastad T, Skålhegg BS, Ulven SM, Holven KB.Consumption of protein-enriched milk has minor effects on inflammation in older adults-A 12-week double-blind randomized controlled trial. Mech Ageing Dev. 2017 Mar;162:1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.mad.2017.01.011. Epub 2017 Feb 3.

Ottestad I, Nordvi B, Vogt G, Holck M, Halvorsen B, Brønner KW, Retterstøl K, Holven KB, Nilsson A, Ulven SM.Bioavailability of n-3 fatty acids from n-3-enriched foods and fish oil with different oxidative quality in healthy human subjects: a randomised single-meal cross-over study. J Nutr Sci. 2016 Oct 28;5:e43. doi: 10.1017/jns.2016.34. eCollection 2016.


Ulven SM, Leder L, Elind E, Ottestad I, Christensen JJ, Telle-Hansen VH, Skjetne AJ, Raael E, Sheikh NA, Holck M, Torvik K, Lamglait A, Thyholt K, Byfuglien MG, Granlund L, Andersen LF, Holven KB. Exchanging a few commercial, regularly consumed food items with improved fat quality reduces total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol: a double-blind, randomised controlled trial. Br J Nutr. 2016 Oct;116(8):1383-1393.


Myhrstad MC, Ottestad I, Günther CC, Ryeng E, Holden M, Nilsson A, Brønner KW, Kohler A, Borge GI, Holven KB, Ulven SM. The PBMC transcriptome profile after intake of oxidized versus high-quality fish oil: an explorative study in healthy subjects. Genes Nutr. 2016 May 31;11:16.


Ottestad I, Løvstad AT, Gjevestad GO, Hamarsland H, Benth JA, Andersen LF, Bye A, Biong AS, Retterstøl K, Iversen PO, Raastad T, Ulven SM, Holven KB. Intake of a protein-enriched milk and effects on muscle mass and strength. A 12-week randomized placebo controlled trial among community-dwelling older adults. In press J Nutrition, health and Aging 2016.


Leder L, Kolehmainen M, Narverud I, Dahlman I, Myhrstad MCW, de Mello V, Paananen P, Carlberg C, Schwab U, Herzig KH, Cloetens L, Storm MU, Jhukkanen J, Savolainen MJ, Rosqvist F, Hermansen K, Dragsted LO, Gunnarsdottir I, Thorsdottir I, Risérus U, Åkesson B, Thoresen M, Arner P, Poutanen KS, Uusitupa M, Holven KB, Ulven SM. Effects of a healthy Nordic diet on gene expression changes in peripheral blood mononuclear cells in response to an oral glucose tolerance test in subjects with metabolic syndrome: a SYSDIET sub-study. Genes Nutr. 2016 Mar 17;11:3.


Ulven SM, Foss SS, Skjølsvik AM, Stadheim HK, Myhrstad MC, Raael E, Sandvik M, Narverud I, Andersen LF, Jensen J, Holven KB. An acute bout of exercise modulates the inflammatory response in peripheral blood mononuclear cells in healthy young men. Arch Physiol Biochem. 2015 May;121(2):41-9.


Kolehmainen M, Ulven SM, Paananen J, de Mello V, Schwab U, Carlberg C, Myhrstad M, Pihlajamäki J, Dungner E, Sjölin E, Gunnarsdottir I, Cloetens L, Landin-Olsson M, Akesson B, Rosqvist F, Hukkanen J, Herzig KH, Dragsted LO, Savolainen MJ, Brader L, Hermansen K, Risérus U, Thorsdottir I, Poutanen KS, Uusitupa M, Arner P, Dahlman I. Healthy Nordic diet downregulates the expression of genes involved in inflammation in subcutaneous adipose tissue in individuals with features of the metabolic syndrome. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Jan;101(1):228-39. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.114.092783. Epub 2014 Nov 19.


Ulven SM, Myhrstad MC, Holven KB. Marine n-3 Fatty Acids and Gene Expression in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells. Curr Cardiovasc Risk Rep. 2014;8(11):412. Review.


Myhrstad MC, Ulven SM, Günther CC, Ottestad I, Holden M, Ryeng E, Borge GI, Kohler A, Brønner KW, Thoresen M, Holven KB. Fish oil supplementation induces expression of genes related to cell cycle, endoplasmic reticulum stress and apoptosis in peripheral blood mononuclear cells: a transcriptomic approach. J Intern Med. 2014 Nov;276(5):498-511.


Uusitupa M, Hermansen K, Savolainen MJ, Schwab U, Kolehmainen M, Brader L, Mortensen LS, Cloetens L, Johansson-Persson A, Onning G, Landin-Olsson M, Herzig KH, Hukkanen J, Rosqvist F, Iggman D, Paananen J, Pulkki KJ, Siloaho M, Dragsted L, Barri T, Overvad K, Bach Knudsen KE, Hedemann MS, Arner P, Dahlman I, Borge GI, Baardseth P, Ulven SM, Gunnarsdottir I, Jónsdóttir S, Thorsdottir I, Orešič M, Poutanen KS, Risérus U, Akesson B. Effects of an isocaloric healthy Nordic diet on insulin sensitivity, lipid profile and inflammation markers in metabolic syndrome -- a randomized study (SYSDIET). J Intern Med. 2013 Jul;274(1):52-66.


Ottestad I, Hassani S, Borge GI, Kohler A, Vogt G, Hyötyläinen T, Orešič M, Brønner KW, Holven KB, Ulven SM, Myhrstad MC. Fish oil supplementation alters the plasma lipidomic profile and increases long-chain PUFAs of phospholipids and triglycerides in healthy subjects. PLoS One. 2012;7(8):e42550.


Ottestad I, Vogt G, Retterstøl K, Myhrstad MC, Haugen JE, Nilsson A, Ravn-Haren G, Nordvi B, Brønner KW, Andersen LF, Holven KB, Ulven SM. Oxidised fish oil does not influence established markers of oxidative stress in healthy human subjects: a randomised controlled trial. Br J Nutr. 2012 Jul;108(2):315-26.


Kirkhus B, Lamglait A, Eilertsen KE, Falch E, Haider T, Vik H, Hoem N, Hagve TA, Basu S, Olsen E, Seljeflot I, Nyberg L, Elind E, Ulven SM. Effects of similar intakes of marine n-3 fatty acids from enriched food products and fish oil on cardiovascular risk markers in healthy human subjects. Br J Nutr. 2012 May;107(9):1339-49.


Myhrstad MC, Narverud I, Telle-Hansen VH, Karhu T, Lund DB, Herzig KH, Makinen M, Halvorsen B, Retterstøl K, Kirkhus B, Granlund L, Holven KB, Ulven SM. Effect of the fat composition of a single high-fat meal on inflammatory markers in healthy young women. Br J Nutr. 2011 Dec;106(12):1826-35.


Ulven SM, Kirkhus B, Lamglait A, Basu S, Elind E, Haider T, Berge K, Vik H, Pedersen JI. Metabolic effects of krill oil are essentially similar to those of fish oil but at lower dose of EPA and DHA, in healthy volunteers. Lipids. 2011 Jan;46(1):37-46.

Published Feb. 5, 2016 2:04 PM - Last modified July 27, 2022 4:12 PM