DNA methylation variant, B-vitamins intake and longitudinal change in body mass index

Int J Obes (Lond). 2019 Mar;43(3):468-474. doi: 10.1038/s41366-018-0106-1. Epub 2018 May 17.


Background: Growing evidence has implicated DNA methylation (DNAm) in the regulation of body adiposity; a recent epigenome-wide association study (EWAS) identified a genetic variant determining DNAm at the SREBF1 gene that affected body mass index (BMI).

Objective: In the present study, we tested interactions between DNAm variant rs752579 and methylation metabolism-related B-vitamins (folate, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12) on longitudinal change in BMI in the Women's Health Initiative Memory Study (WHIMS).

Design: A total of 5687 white women aged 65-79 from WHIMS with genotyping data on SNP rs752579 were included in the analysis. B-vitamins intakes were estimated by a self-report semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire. BMI was measured at baseline and 6-year follow-up.

Result: We found significant interactions between the SREBF1 rs752579 genotype and intake of food source B-vitamins on 6-year change in BMI (p interaction <0.01 for all). BMI changes (kg/m2) per DNAm-increasing (C) allele were -0.29, 0.06, and 0.11 within subgroups of increasing tertiles of food source folate intake; and the corresponding BMI changes (kg/m2) were -0.25, -0.01, and 0.15 for vitamin B2 intake; -0.17, -0.16, and 0.21 for vitamin B6 intake; and -0.12, -0.23, and 0.26 for vitamin B12 intake, respectively. Similar gene-diet interaction patterns were observed on the change in body weight.

Conclusions: Our data suggest that habitual intake of food source B-vitamins may modify the effect of DNAm-related variant on long-term adiposity change.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity / physiology
  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index*
  • DNA Methylation / genetics*
  • Diet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Middle Aged
  • Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Protein 1 / genetics
  • Vitamin B Complex*


  • SREBF1 protein, human
  • Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Protein 1
  • Vitamin B Complex