Arsenic metabolism and one-carbon metabolism at low-moderate arsenic exposure: Evidence from the Strong Heart Study

Food Chem Toxicol. 2017 Jul:105:387-397. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2017.05.004. Epub 2017 May 4.


B-vitamins involved in one-carbon metabolism (OCM) can affect arsenic metabolism efficiency in highly arsenic exposed, undernourished populations. We evaluated whether dietary intake of OCM nutrients (including vitamins B2, B6, folate (B9), and B12) was associated with arsenic metabolism in a more nourished population exposed to lower arsenic than previously studied. Dietary intake of OCM nutrients and urine arsenic was evaluated in 405 participants from the Strong Heart Study. Arsenic exposure was measured as the sum of iAs, monomethylarsonate (MMA) and dimethylarsenate (DMA) in urine. Arsenic metabolism was measured as the individual percentages of each metabolite over their sum (iAs%, MMA%, DMA%). In adjusted models, increasing intake of vitamins B2 and B6 was associated with modest but significant decreases in iAs% and MMA% and increases in DMA%. A significant interaction was found between high folate and B6 with enhanced arsenic metabolism efficiency. Our findings suggest OCM nutrients may influence arsenic metabolism in populations with moderate arsenic exposure. Stronger and independent associations were observed with B2 and B6, vitamins previously understudied in relation to arsenic. Research is needed to evaluate whether targeting B-vitamin intake can serve as a strategy for the prevention of arsenic-related health effects at low-moderate arsenic exposure.

Keywords: Arsenic metabolism; B-vitamins; Dietary intake; One-carbon metabolism; Strong Heart Study.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arsenic / metabolism*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / metabolism*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Folic Acid / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Indians, North American / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Riboflavin / metabolism*
  • South Dakota
  • Vitamin B 12 / metabolism*
  • Vitamin B 6 / metabolism*


  • Vitamin B 6
  • Folic Acid
  • Arsenic
  • Vitamin B 12
  • Riboflavin