Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
July 30, 2021
3 min read

Curry, vitamin B2 intake may reduce risk for metabolic syndrome in women

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
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Premenopausal women who eat more curry and postmenopausal women with a higher daily vitamin B2 intake are less likely to have metabolic syndrome, according to a study of women in Korea published in Menopause.

In analysis of data from women in Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (KHANES), higher lead levels increased risk for metabolic syndrome among premenopausal and postmenopausal women, and exposure to cadmium also increased metabolic syndrome risk after menopause. However, curry and vitamin B2 may have a protective effect against metabolic syndrome, according to researchers.

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“The consumption of high-fat, saturated-fat, low-energy diets, and alcohol consumption and smoking have increased in South Korea, and these lifestyle changes have resulted in a rapid increase in the prevalence of metabolic syndrome,” Hai Duc Nguyen, MD, and Min-Sun Kim, PhD, of the department of pharmacy in the College of Pharmacy and Research Institute of Life and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Sunchon National University in South Korea, told Healio. “Potential health benefits result from the intake of vitamin B2 and curry through an ordinary diet in the clinical management of metabolic syndrome. These results highlight an ongoing need to understand the effects of vitamin B2 and curry on metabolic syndrome.”

Nguyen and Kim analyzed data from 7,131 premenopausal and postmenopausal women aged 20 years and older participating in the KHANES from 2009 to 2017 (mean age, 46.8 years). Serum levels of lead, mercury and cadmium were measured for each participant. Researchers collected sociodemographic data and food intake information. Data on HDL-cholesterol, triglycerides and glucose levels, as well as BMI and blood pressure, were also collected.

Lead, cadmium exposure increase metabolic risk

Metabolic syndrome was defined using diagnostic criteria from the American Heart Association and National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. Women with three or more of the following risk factors were identified as having metabolic syndrome: waist circumference of more than 80 cm; triglyceride level of 150 mg/dL or more; HDL-cholesterol level of less than 50 mg/dL or receiving medication to increase HDL-cholesterol; systolic BP of at least 130 mm Hg, diastolic BP of at least 85 mm Hg or receiving antihypertension drug treat; and fasting glucose of 100 mg/dL or higher or receiving treatment for elevated glucose.

Of the study cohort, 2,122 women were defined as having metabolic syndrome. After adjusting for confounders, each one unit increase in serum lead level increased the risk for metabolic syndrome for premenopausal women (OR = 1.21; 95% CI, 1.09-1.33; P < .001) and postmenopausal women (OR = 1.26; 95% CI, 1.16-1.38; P < .001). A one unit increase in serum cadmium level increased metabolic syndrome risk for postmenopausal women (OR = 1.33; 95% CI, 1.03-1.72; P = .028). Each 1% increase in HbA1c also increased metabolic syndrome risk for both premenopausal (OR = 2.49; 95% CI, 1.97-3.16; P < .001) and postmenopausal women (OR = 2.79; 95% CI, 2.3-3.38; P < .001).

Curry, vitamin B2 decrease metabolic risk

Premenopausal women who ate a high amount of curry had a lower risk for metabolic syndrome compared with those eating a low amount of curry (OR = 0.6; 95% CI, 0.39-0.91; P = .017). Postmenopausal women had a lower risk for metabolic syndrome with each 1 mg daily increase in vitamin B2 intake (OR = 0.55; 95% CI, 0.32-0.94; P = .028).

“Until now, few studies showed the effect of vitamin B2 on metabolic syndrome,” Nguyen and Kim said. “Our results suggest that increased vitamin B2 intake reduces the risk of metabolic syndrome during menopause. This is supported by previous in vitro studies, which that found vitamin B2 deficiency can increase the pro-inflammatory activities of adipocytes and insulin resistance and promote metabolic syndrome development.”

Nguyen and Kim said more studies are needed to examine whether interactions between heavy metal levels and vitamin B2 and curry intake also influence metabolic syndrome risk.

For more information:

Min-Sun Kim, PhD, can be reached at minsun@scnu.ac.kr.

Hai Duc Nguyen, MD, can be reached at haiyds@gmail.com.