Body Mass Index Is an Important Determinant of Methylation Biomarkers in Women of Reproductive Ages

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


B vitamin deficiencies lead to moderate hyperhomocysteinemia, which has been associated with health and disease. However, concomitant derangements in cellular methylation, reflected by altered plasma S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) or S-adenosylhomocysteine (SAH) concentrations, may be the primary cause. Therefore, we identified determinants of homocysteine, SAM, and SAH concentrations in 336 women, aged 20-48 y, as part of a large study focusing on risk factors for reproductive disorders, Blood was obtained to determine plasma SAM, SAH, and total homocysteine (tHcy), serum vitamin B-12 and folate, RBC folate concentrations, and the related single nucleotide polymorphisms 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) 677C > T and 1298A > C, methionine synthase reductase (MTRR) 66A > G, and nicotinamide A methyltransferase IVS1-151G > A. Questionnaires provided information on demographics, lifestyles, and nutrient intakes. Correlation coefficients were calculated and multivariable associations were assessed with a general linear model. Serum folate was positively correlated with SAM concentrations (r = 0.159; P = 0.004). Folate and vitamin B-12 were not correlated with SAH concentrations or the SAM:SAH ratio but were inversely correlated with tHcy concentrations (serum folate r = -0.324; RBC folate r = -0.294; vitamin B-12 r = -0.307; P < 0.01). From the multivariable analysis, BMI was the strongest determinant of SAM (standardized beta = 19.145; P < 0.001) and SAH concentrations (standardized beta = 3.241; P = 0.010). MTHFR 677TT (standardized beta = 0.195; P = 0.001), B vitamin supplement use (standardized beta = -0.156; P < 0.001) and dietary protein intake (standardized beta = -0.011; P < 0.001) were the strongest determinants of tHcy concentrations. Thus, the determinants of SAM and SAH differ from those of tHcy concentrations. Given that BMI was a strong determinant of SAM concentrations, it should be included in future studies on cellular methylation. J. Nutr. 139: 2315-2321, 2009.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)2315-2321
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Research programs

  • EMC MGC-02-52-01-A
  • EMC MGC-02-96-01
  • EMC NIHES-01-64-02
  • EMC NIHES-02-65-01
  • EMC OR-01-25-01

Cite this