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Hypertens Res. 2011 Dec;34(12):1239-45. doi: 10.1038/hr.2011.133. Epub 2011 Aug 4.

Dietary methyl-consuming compounds and metabolic syndrome.

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Department of Physiology, Medical College, Dalian University, Dalian, China.


The metabolic syndrome, a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, is a cluster of metabolic abnormalities including obesity, insulin resistance, hypertension and dyslipidemia. Although systemic oxidative stress and aberrant methylation status are known to have important roles in the development of metabolic syndrome, how they occur remains unclear. The metabolism of methyl-consuming compounds generates reactive oxygen species and consumes labile methyl groups; therefore, a chronic increase in the levels of methyl-consuming compounds in the body can induce not only oxidative stress and subsequent tissue injury, but also methyl-group pool depletion and subsequent aberrant methylation status. In the past few decades, the intake amount of methyl-consuming compounds has substantially increased primarily due to pollution, food additives, niacin fortification and high meat consumption. Thus, increased methyl consumers might have a causal role in the development and prevalence of metabolic syndrome and its related diseases. Moreover, factors that decrease the elimination/metabolism of methyl-consuming compounds and other xenobiotics (for example, sweat gland inactivity and decreased liver function) or increase the generation of endogenous methyl-consuming compounds (for example, mental stress-induced increase in catecholamine release) may accelerate the progression of metabolic syndrome. Based on current nutrition knowledge and the available evidence from epidemiological, ecological, clinical and laboratory studies on metabolic syndrome and its related diseases, this review outlines the relationship between methyl supply-consumption imbalance and metabolic syndrome, and proposes a novel mechanism for the pathogenesis and prevalence of metabolic syndrome and its related diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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