Vitamin B12 deficiency and altered one-carbon metabolites in early pregnancy is associated with maternal obesity and dyslipidaemia
Vitamin B12 (B12) is a micronutrient essential for one-carbon (1C) metabolism. B12 deficiency disturbs the 1C cycle and alters DNA methylation which is vital for most metabolic processes. Studies show that B12 deficiency may be associated with obesity, insulin resistance and gestational diabetes; and with obesity in child-bearing women. We therefore hypothesised that the associations between B12 deficiency, BMI and the metabolic risk could be mediated through altered 1C metabolites in early
... nancy. We explored these associations in two different early pregnancy cohorts in the UK (cohort 1; n = 244 and cohort 2; n = 60) with anthropometric data at 10-12 weeks and plasma/serum sampling at 16-18 weeks. B12, folate, total homocysteine (tHcy), methionine, MMA, metabolites of 1C metabolism (SAM, SAH) and anthropometry were measured. B12 deficiency (< 150 pmol/l) in early pregnancy was 23% in cohort 1 and 18% in cohort 2. Regression analysis after adjusting for likely confounders showed that B12 was independently and negatively associated with BMI (Cohort 1: β = - 0.260, 95% CI (- 0.440, - 0.079), p = 0.005, Cohort 2: (β = - 0.220, 95% CI (- 0.424, - 0.016), p = 0.036) and positively with HDL cholesterol (HDL-C) (β = 0.442, 95% CI (0.011,0.873), p = 0.045). We found that methionine (β = - 0.656, 95% CI (- 0.900, - 0.412), p < 0.0001) and SAH (β = 0.371, 95% CI (0.071, 0.672), p = 0.017) were independently associated with triglycerides. Low B12 status and alteration in metabolites in 1C metabolism are common in UK women in early pregnancy and are independently associated with maternal obesity and dyslipidaemia. Therefore, we suggest B12 monitoring in women during peri-conceptional period and future studies on the pathophysiological relationship between changes in 1C metabolites and its association with maternal and fetal outcomes on larger cohorts. This in turn may offer potential to reduce the metabolic risk in pregnant women and their offspring.