Stools from asymptomatic volunteers on diets containing red meat, whole blood, or high fiber were analyzed for their content of hemes and dicarboxylic (heme-derived) porphyrins by the 'HemoQuant' assay, the 'Hemoccult' test, and 'high-performance' liquid chromatography (HPLC). In 49 subjects, ingestion of red meat increased HemoQuant-determined combined fecal heme plus dicarboxylic porphyrins by an average 375%; the contribution of heme-derived porphyrins to total fecal porphyrins increased from 37% to 78%. Of subjects on a red-meat diet, 27% passed stools with a porphyrin content suggestive of a porphyria, compared with only 4% on a red-meat-free diet. These increases were due largely to protoporphyrin and its derivatives pemptoporphyrin and deuteroporphyrin, all of which were present in feces as iron-free porphyrins and iron-ligated (heme) forms. Ingestion of blood had an effect similar to that of red meat, but ingestion of fiber had no effect. These effects of dietary and endogenous hemoproteins must be considered when such methods are used to test feces for occult blood or to test for excess fecal porphyrins as an indicator of a porphyria.
- chromatography, reversed-phase
- diet-related effects
- porphyria diagnosis
- variation, source of