CONTEXT: Aberrant DNA methylation is linked to various diseases. The supply of methyl groups for methylation reactions is mediated by S-adenosylmethionine, which depends on the availability of folate and related B vitamins. OBJECTIVES: To investigate the influence of key nutrients involved in 1-carbon metabolism on DNA methylation in adults. DATA SOURCES: Systematic literature searches were conducted in the Cochrane Library, Medline, Embase, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature Plus, Scopus, and Web of Science databases. Studies that met the inclusion criteria and were published in English were included. DATA EXTRACTION: The first author, study design, sample size, population characteristics, type and duration of intervention, tissue type or cells analyzed, molecular techniques, and DNA methylation outcomes. DATA SYNTHESIS: A meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials (RCTs) was conducted to investigate the effect of 1-carbon metabolism nutrients on global DNA methylation. Functional analysis and visualization were performed using BioVenn software. RESULTS: From a total of 2620 papers screened by title, 53 studies met the inclusion criteria. Qualitative analysis indicated significant associations between 1-carbon metabolism nutrients and DNA methylation. In meta-analysis of RCTs stratified by method of laboratory analysis, supplementation with folic acid alone or in combination with vitamin B12 significantly increased global DNA methylation in studies using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, which had markedly lower heterogeneity (n = 3; Z = 3.31; P = 0.0009; I2 = 0%) in comparison to other methods. Functional analysis highlighted a subset of 12 differentially methylated regions that were significantly related to folate and vitamin B12 biomarkers. CONCLUSION: This study supports significant associations between 1-carbon metabolism nutrients and DNA methylation. However, standardization of DNA methylation techniques is recommended to reduce heterogeneity and facilitate comparison across studies. SYSTEMATIC REVIEW REGISTRATION: PROSPERO registration number: CRD42018091898.
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- DNA methylation
- one-carbon metabolism
- global DNA methylation
- systematic review