One-Carbon Metabolism Nutrients, Genetic Variation, and Diabetes Mellitus

Jie Zhu, Gunjana Saikia, Xiaotao Zhang, Xiaoxi Shen, Ka Kahe

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Diabetes mellitus (DM) affects about 9.3% of the population globally. Hyperhomocysteinemia (HHcy) has been implicated in the pathogenesis of DM, owing to its promotion of oxidative stress, β-cell dysfunction, and insulin resistance. HHcy can result from low status of one-carbon metabolism (OCM) nutrients (e.g., folate, choline, betaine, vitamin B6, B12), which work together to degrade homocysteine by methylation. The etiology of HHcy may also involve genetic variation encoding key enzymes in OCM. This review aimed to provide an overview of the existing literature assessing the link between OCM nutrients status, related genetic factors, and incident DM. We also discussed possible mechanisms underlying the role of OCM in DM development and provided recommendations for future research and practice. Even though the available evidence remains inconsistent, some studies support the potential beneficial effects of intakes or blood levels of OCM nutrients on DM development. Moreover, certain variants in OCM-related genes may influence metabolic handling of methyl-donors and presumably incidental DM. Future studies are warranted to establish the causal inference between OCM and DM and examine the interaction of OCM nutrients and genetic factors with DM development, which will inform the personalized recommendations for OCM nutrients intakes on DM prevention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-183
Number of pages14
JournalDiabetes and Metabolism Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2024


  • Betaine
  • Choline
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Folic acid
  • Genes
  • Homocysteine
  • Riboflavin
  • Vitamin B 12
  • Vitamin B 6
  • Zinc


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