Association between serum folate and insulin resistance among U.S. nondiabetic adults

Jinchao Li, Charlene E. Goh, Ryan T. Demmer, Brian W. Whitcomb, Peng Du, Zhenhua Liu

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7 Scopus citations


Recent studies have suggested that epigenetic alterations, particularly DNA methylation, play a crucial role in the pathogenesis of insulin resistance. Folate is a key source of the one-carbon group for DNA methylation, whereas the association and mechanistic linkage between folate status and insulin resistance remains unclear with very limited experimental support. We performed a cross-sectional study of 1530 nondiabetic adults in the 2011-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). We examined associations between serum folate and insulin resistance using multiple linear regression models adjusted for potential confounders. We detected a significant inverse relationship for serum folate, where a 25% increase in serum folate was associated with a 3.06% (95% CI, -4.72, -1.37) and 2.77% (95% CI, -4.36, -1.77) decline in HOMA-IR and insulin respectively, and a 2.55% (95% CI, 0.93, 4.21) increase in G/I ratio. Our findings demonstrate that serum folate was inversely associated with insulin resistance in U.S. nondiabetic adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9187
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank Dr. Ken Kleinman, Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, School of Public Health and Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts, for his advice on data analysis. This project is supported by UMass SPHHS Deans Incentive Grant, and partially supported by USDA grants (2014-67017-21762 and MAS00454) and an award from Rays of Hope Center for Breast Cancer Research.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Author(s).

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