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Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2019 Jun 27;10:414. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2019.00414. eCollection 2019.

Inverse Association Between Serum Vitamin B12 Concentration and Obesity Among Adults in the United States.

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Department of Epidemiology, College of Public Health, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, United States.
Department of Endocrinology, Wuhan Central Hospital Affiliated to Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China.
Obesity Research and Education Initiative, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, United States.
Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, United States.


Introduction: Several studies have suggested that vitamin B12 deficiency is more common in obese individuals. We evaluated the cross-sectional associations of serum vitamin B12 concentrations with obesity in a nationally representative sample of adults in the United States. Methods: We included 9,075 participants aged ≥20 years in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2011-2014. Serum vitamin B12 concentrations were measured by electrochemiluminescence immunoassay. Obesity was defined as BMI ≥30 kg/m2. We used logistic regression with sample weights to estimate the odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Results: Serum vitamin B12 concentrations were lower among obese adults compared with non-obese adults. After adjustment for age, gender, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, dietary and lifestyle factors, use of medications that could affect the serum vitamin B12 levels, dietary supplement use and fasting time, the multivariable-adjusted ORs (95% CIs) of obesity were 1.00 (reference), 0.95 (0.79, 1.14), 0.86 (0.74, 0.99), and 0.71 (0.60, 0.84) (p for trend <0.001) for increasing quartiles of serum vitamin B12 concentrations. Conclusions: In a large nationally representative sample of U.S. adults, higher serum vitamin B12 levels were inversely associated with obesity. Further investigation is needed to understand the underlying mechanisms.


adults; micronutrient; nutrition; obesity; vitamin B12

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