Background: Methylmalonic acid (MMA) is best known for its use as a functional marker of vitamin B12 deficiency. However, MMA concentrations not only depend on adequate vitamin B12 status, but also relate to renal function and endogenous production of propionic acid. Hence, we aimed to investigate to what extent variation in MMA levels is explained by vitamin B12 and eGFR and whether MMA levels are associated with mortality if vitamin B12 and eGFR are taken into account. Methods: A total of 1533 individuals (aged 60–75 years, 50% male) were included from the Lifelines Cohort and Biobank Study. Individuals were included between 2006 and 2013, and the total follow-up time was 8.5 years. Results: Median [IQR] age of the study population was 65 [62–69] years, 50% was male. At baseline, median MMA concentration was 170 [138–216] nmol/L, vitamin B12 290 [224–362] pmol/L, and eGFR 84 [74–91] mL/min/1.73 m2. Log 2 vitamin B12, log 2 eGFR, age, and sex were significantly associated with log 2 MMA in multivariable linear regression analyses (model R 2 = 0.22). After a total follow-up time of 8.5 years, 72 individuals had died. Log 2 MMA levels were significantly associated with mortality (hazard ratio [HR] 1.67 [95% CI 1.25–2.22], P < 0.001). Moreover, we found a significant interaction between MMA and eGFR with respect to mortality (P interaction < 0.001). Conclusions: Only 22% of variation in MMA levels was explained by vitamin B12, eGFR, age, and sex, indicating that a large part of variation in MMA levels is attributable to other factors (e.g., catabolism, dietary components, or gut microbial production). Higher MMA levels are associated with an increased risk for mortality, independent of vitamin B12, eGFR, and sex. This association was more pronounced in individuals with impaired renal function.
Bakker, S. (Creator), Dotinga, A. (Creator), Vonk, J. (Creator), Smidt, N. (Creator), Scholtens, S. (Creator), Swertz, M. (Creator), Wijmenga, C. (Creator), Wolffenbuttel, B. (Creator), Stolk, R. (Creator), van Zon, S. (Creator), Rosmalen, J. (Creator), Postma, D. S. (Creator), de Boer, R. (Creator), Navis, G. (Creator), Slaets, J. (Creator), Ormel, H. (Creator), van Dijk, F. (Creator) & Bolmer, B. (Data Manager), Lifelines, 2006