Urinary 24-h creatinine excretion in adults and its use as a simple tool for the estimation of daily urinary analyte excretion from analyte/creatinine ratios in populations

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The assessment of urinary excretion of specific nutrients (e.g. iodine, sodium) is frequently used to monitor a population's nutrient status. However, when only spot urines are available, always a risk of hydration-status-dependent dilution effects and related misinterpretations exists. The aim of the present study was to establish mean values of 24-h creatinine excretion widely applicable for an appropriate estimation of 24-h excretion rates of analytes from spot urines in adults.


Twenty-four-hour creatinine excretion from the formerly representative cross-sectional German VERA Study (n = 1463, 20-79 years old) was analysed. Linear regression analysis was performed to identify the most important influencing factors of creatinine excretion. In a subsample of the German DONALD Study (n = 176, 20-29 years old), the applicability of the 24-h creatinine excretion values of VERA for the estimation of 24-h sodium and iodine excretion from urinary concentration measurements was tested.


In the VERA Study, mean 24-h creatinine excretion was 15.4 mmol per day in men and 11.1 mmol per day in women, significantly dependent on sex, age, body weight and body mass index. Based on the established 24-h creatinine excretion values, mean 24-h iodine and sodium excretions could be estimated from respective analyte/creatinine concentrations, with average deviations < 10% compared with the actual 24-h means.


The present mean values of 24-h creatinine excretion are suggested as a useful tool to derive realistic hydration-status-independent average 24-h excretion rates from urinary analyte/creatinine ratios. We propose to apply these creatinine reference means routinely in biomarker-based studies aiming at characterizing the nutrient or metabolite status of adult populations by simply measuring metabolite/creatinine ratios in spot urines.

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