Dietary ascorbic acid and subsequent change in body weight and waist circumference: associations may depend on genetic predisposition to obesity--a prospective study of three independent cohorts

Nutr J. 2014 May 3;13:43. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-13-43.

Abstract

Background: Cross-sectional data suggests that a low level of plasma ascorbic acid positively associates with both Body Mass Index (BMI) and Waist Circumference (WC). This leads to questions about a possible relationship between dietary intake of ascorbic acid and subsequent changes in anthropometry, and whether such associations may depend on genetic predisposition to obesity. Hence, we examined whether dietary ascorbic acid, possibly in interaction with the genetic predisposition to a high BMI, WC or waist-hip ratio adjusted for BMI (WHR), associates with subsequent annual changes in weight (∆BW) and waist circumference (∆WC).

Methods: A total of 7,569 participants' from MONICA, the Diet Cancer and Health study and the INTER99 study were included in the study. We combined 50 obesity associated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in four genetic scores: a score of all SNPs and a score for each of the traits (BMI, WC and WHR) with which the SNPs associate. Linear regression was used to examine the association between ascorbic acid intake and ΔBW or ΔWC. SNP-score × ascorbic acid interactions were examined by adding product terms to the models.

Results: We found no significant associations between dietary ascorbic acid and ∆BW or ∆WC. Regarding SNP-score × ascorbic acid interactions, each additional risk allele of the 14 WHR associated SNPs associated with a ∆WC of 0.039 cm/year (P = 0.02, 95% CI: 0.005 to 0.073) per 100 mg/day higher ascorbic acid intake. However, the association to ∆WC only remained borderline significant after adjustment for ∆BW.

Conclusion: In general, our study does not support an association between dietary ascorbic acid and ∆BW or ∆WC, but a diet with a high content of ascorbic acid may be weakly associated to higher WC gain among people who are genetically predisposed to a high WHR. However, given the quite limited association any public health relevance is questionable.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00289237.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Ascorbic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Denmark
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / genetics*
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Prospective Studies
  • Waist Circumference*
  • Waist-Hip Ratio

Substances

  • Ascorbic Acid

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00289237