Higher dietary choline and betaine intake is associated with lower blood pressure (BP) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels among individuals with obesity, according to research published in BMC Endocrine Disorders.

Researchers in Iran conducted a cross-sectional study among individuals with obesity to analyze the relationship between dietary choline and betaine intake and the risk for metabolic syndrome. Associations with various metabolic parameters were also assessed, including lipid profile, glycemic markers, and BP. Dietary information was collected via semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire, and intakes of choline and betaine were calculated via data sourced from United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) food content databases. Comparisons across tertiles and total dietary choline and betaine intakes were evaluated using chi-square and 1-way analysis of variance testing. Analysis of co-variance testing was used to compare biochemical variables, with adjustments for age, sex, BMI, smoking status, and total energy intake.

A total of 359 Individuals aged between 20 and 50 years were included in the study, of whom 57.9% were men. Individuals with diabetes and those who were pregnant, lactating, or perimenopausal were excluded. Other exclusion criteria were recent bariatric procedures; liver, kidney, and cardiovascular disease history; and receipt of weight-altering medications.


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Individuals with dietary choline intake in higher tertiles were found to have significantly increased BMI, waist-to-hip ratio, fat-free mass, and basal metabolic rates (P <.01). Higher vs lower tertiles of dietary betaine intake also were associated with increased waist-to-hip ratio.

In regard to biochemical paramaters, the researchers noted no significant differences in serum lipids and glycemic markers across different tertiles of dietary choline intake. However, higher tertiles of dietary betaine intake were significantly associated with decreased systolic and diastolic BP levels (P <.05).

Among individuals with metabolic syndrome, no significant differences in any biochemical variables were observed by tertiles of dietary choline and betaine intake or total choline and betaine intake (P <.05).

For individuals without metabolic syndrome, both higher tertiles and total dietary choline and betaine intakes were associated with lower levels of systolic BP and triglycerides. In addition, higher tertiles of dietary betaine alone and total choline and betaine intakes were associated with lower diastolic BP levels, and higher total choline and betaine intake was associated with lower serum insulin levels.

Overall, decreases in metabolic syndrome prevalence were associated with increases in tertiles of dietary choline and betaine and total choline and betaine intakes.

Study limitations include potential recall bias, as well as the inability to determine a causal relationship between cardiometabolic risk factors and dietary choline and betaine intake due to the cross-sectional design. 

“[F]urther studies are warranted to expand these findings to different geographic distributions,” the researchers concluded. 

Reference

Abbasi MSP, Tousi AZ, Yazdani Y, et al. Dietary choline and betaine intake, cardio-metabolic risk factors and prevalence of metabolic syndrome among overweight and obese adultsBMC Endocr Disord. 2023;23(1):67. doi:10.1186/s12902-023-01323-4

This article originally appeared on Endocrinology Advisor