American Diabetes Association
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Methyl donor nutrient intake and incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus: results from 3 large US cohorts

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posted on 2023-08-29, 18:52 authored by Caleigh M. Sawicki, Danielle E. Haslam, Kim V.E. Braun, Jean-Philippe Drouin-Chartier, Trudy Voortman, Oscar H. Franco, Qi Sun, Frank B. Hu, Shilpa N. Bhupathiraju


Objective: We examined whether intake of methyl donor nutrients, including vitamins B2, B6, and B12, and folate, from foods and/or supplements is associated with type 2 diabetes risk.

Design and Methods: We included 203,644 women and men from the Nurses' Health Study (1984-2016), Nurses' Health Study 2 (1991-2017), and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (1986-2016). Dietary data were collected every 2-4 years using semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaires. Cox proportional hazards models with time-varying covariates were used to evaluate associations between each nutrient and type 2 diabetes risk. Cohort-specific hazard ratios were combined using inverse variance-weighted fixed effects meta-analyses.

Results: During 4,900,181 person-years of follow-up, we documented 19,475 incident type 2 diabetes cases. In multivariable-adjusted meta-analyses, participants in the highest quintile of total vitamin B2 and B6 intakes had lower risk of diabetes compared with those in the lowest quintile [HR(95% CI): 0.93(0.89, 0.98) for B2; 0.93(0.89, 0.97) for B6]. When stratified by source, significant associations remained for B2 from food, but not from supplements. Neither association for B6 from food or supplements attained significance. No association was observed between total B12 intake and diabetes. However, B12 from food was marginally associated with a higher diabetes risk [HR(95% CI): 1.05(1.00-1.11)], but not after additional adjustment for red meat intake [HR(95% CI): 1.04(0.99-1.10)]. No evidence of association was observed between intakes of folate and diabetes.

Conclusions: Our study suggests that higher intake of vitamin B2 and B6, especially B2 from food sources, may be associated with a modestly lower type 2 diabetes risk.


Funding: KVEB was supported by the Albert Renold Travel Fellowship by the European Foundation for the Study of Diabetes (EFSD); CMS and DEH are supported by NRSA grant T32 CA 009001; JPDC is research scholar of the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (Quebec Health Research Funds). Cohort studies are supported by the following National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants: UM1 CA186107 (NHS); U01 CA176726 and U01 HL45386 (NHS2); and U01 CA167552 (HPFS). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.


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