Vitamin B and One-Carbon Metabolite Profiles Show Divergent Associations with Cardiometabolic Risk Markers but not Cognitive Function in Older New Zealand Adults: A secondary analysis of the REACH Study

Nicola A. Gillies, Amber M. Milan, David Cameron-Smith, Karen D. Mumme, Cathryn A. Conlon, Pamela R. Von Hurst, Crystal F. Haskell-Ramsay, Beatrix Jones, Nicole C. Roy, Jane Coad, Clare R. Wall, Kathryn L. Beck*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Vitamin B inadequacies and elevated homocysteine status have been associated with impaired cognitive and cardiometabolic health with aging. There is, however, a scarcity of research investigating integrated profiles of one-carbon (1C) metabolites in this context, including metabolites of interconnected folate, methionine, choline oxidation, and transsulfuration pathways. Objectives: The study aimed to examine associations between vitamins B and 1C metabolites with cardiometabolic health and cognitive function in healthy older adults, including the interactive effects of Apolipoprotein E-ε4 status. Methods: Three hundred and thirteen healthy participants (65-74 y, 65% female) were analyzed. Vitamins B were estimated according to dietary intake (4-d food records) and biochemical status (serum folate and vitamin B 12). Fasting plasma 1C metabolites were quantified by liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry. Measures of cardiometabolic health included biochemical (lipid panel, blood glucose) and anthropometric markers. Cognitive function was assessed by the Computerized Mental Performance Assessment System (COMPASS) and Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA). Associations were analyzed using multivariate linear (COMPASS, cardiometabolic health) and Poisson (MoCA) regression modeling. Results: Over 90% of participants met dietary recommendations for riboflavin and vitamins B 6 and B 12, but only 78% of males and 67% of females achieved adequate folate intakes. Higher serum folate and plasma betaine and glycine concentrations were associated with favorable cardiometabolic markers, whereas higher plasma choline and homocysteine concentrations were associated with greater cardiometabolic risk based on body mass index and serum lipids concentration values (P< 0.05). Vitamins B and homocysteine were not associated with cognitive performance in this cohort, though higher glycine concentrations were associated with better global cognitive performance (P = 0.017), episodic memory (P = 0.016), and spatial memory (P = 0.027) scores. Apolipoprotein E-ε4 status did not modify the relationship between vitamins B or 1C metabolites with cognitive function in linear regression analyses. Conclusions: Vitamin B and 1C metabolite profiles showed divergent associations with cardiometabolic risk markers and limited associations with cognitive performance in this cohort of healthy older adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3529-3542
Number of pages14
JournalThe Journal of Nutrition
Issue number12
Early online date18 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2023

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