Circulating concentrations of biomarkers and metabolites related to Vitamin status, one-carbon and the kynurenine pathways in US, Nordic, Asian, and Australian populations
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Background: Circulating concentrations of biomarkers that are related to vitamin status vary by factors such as diet, fortification, and supplement use. Published biomarker concentrations have also been influenced by the variation across laboratories, which complicates a comparison of results from different studies.
Objective: We robustly and comprehensively assessed differences in biomarkers that are related to vitamin status across geographic regions.
Design: The trial was a cross-sectional study in which we investigated 38 biomarkers that are related to vitamin status and one-carbon and tryptophan metabolism in serum and plasma from 5314 healthy control subjects representing 20 cohorts recruited from the United States, Nordic countries, Asia, and Australia, participating in the Lung Cancer Cohort Consortium. All samples were analyzed in a centralized laboratory.
Results: Circulating concentrations of riboflavin, pyridoxal 5′-phosphate, folate, vitamin B-12, all-trans retinol, 25-hydroxyvitamin D, and α-tocopherol as well as combined vitamin scores that were based on these nutrients showed that the general B-vitamin concentration was highest in the United States and that the B vitamins and lipid soluble vitamins were low in Asians. Conversely, circulating concentrations of metabolites that are inversely related to B vitamins involved in the one-carbon and kynurenine pathways were high in Asians. The high B-vitamin concentration in the United States appears to be driven mainly by multivitamin-supplement users.
Conclusions: The observed differences likely reflect the variation in intake of vitamins and, in particular, the widespread multivitamin-supplement use in the United States. The results provide valuable information about the differences in biomarker concentrations in populations across continents.