Nuclear magnetic resonance (WR)-based metabonomics was carried out on plasma samples from a total of seventy-five 17-year-old Danes to investigate the impact of key parameters such as sex, height, weight, and body mass index on the plasma metabolite profile in a normal, healthy population. Principal component analysis identified sex to have a large impact on the NMR plasma metabolome, whereas no apparent effects of height, weight, and body mass index were found. Partial least square regression discriminant analysis and quantification of relative metabolite concentrations by integration of NMR signals revealed that the sex effect included differences in plasma lipoproteins (mainly high-density lipoprotein), glucose, choline, and amino acid content. Accordingly, the present study suggests a higher lipid synthesis in young women than young men and a higher protein turnover in Young men compared with women. Data on plasma content of triglyceride, lipoprotein fractions, and cholesterol at an age of 9 months were available for selected individuals (n = 40),- and partial least square regressions revealed correlations between these infant parameters and the NMR plasma metabolome at an age of 17 years. In conclusion, the present study demonstrates the feasibility of NMR-based metabonomics for obtaining a deeper insight into interindividual differences in metabolism and for exploring relationships between parameters measured early in life and metabolic status at a later stage. (C) 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.