Dietary β-Tocopherol and Linoleic Acid, Serum Insulin, and Waist Circumference Predict Circulating Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin in Premenopausal Women1–4

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Abstract

Reduced levels of circulating sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) are implicated in the etiology of sex steroid-related pathologies and the metabolic syndrome. Dietary correlates of serum SHBG remain unclear and were studied in a convenient cross-sectional sample of healthy 30- to 40-y-old women (n = 255). By univariate analyses, serum SHBG correlated negatively with several indices of the metabolic syndrome, such as BMI, waist circumference, hip circumference (r =—0.36 to—0.44; P < 0.0001), fasting serum insulin (r =—0.41; P < 0.0001), serum triglycerides (r =—0.27; P < 0.0001), serum glucose (r =—0.23; P < 0.001), and plasma testosterone (r =—0.19; P= 0.002). Serum SHBG correlated positively with serum HDL-cholesterol (r = 0.33; P < 0.0001), plasma progesterone (r = 0.17; P= 0.007), and dietary intake of β-tocopherol (r = 0.17; P= 0.006), and negatively with that of fructose (r =—0.13; P= 0.04). Principal component analysis (PCA) extracted 12 nutrient factors with eigenvalues > 1.0 from 54 nutrients and vitamins in food records. Multivariate regression analyses showed that the PCA-extracted nutrient factor most heavily loaded with β-tocopherol and linoleic acid (P = 0.03) was an independent positive predictor of serum SHBG. When individual nutrients were the predictor variables, β-tocopherol (P = 0.002), but not other tocopherols or fatty acids (including linoleic acid), was an independent positive predictor of serum SHBG. Circulating insulin (P = 0.02) and waist circumference (P = 0.002), but not serum lipids, were negative independent predictors of SHBG in all regression models. Additional studies are needed in women of other age groups and men to determine whether consumption of foods rich in β-tocopherol and/or linoleic acid may increase serum SHBG concentrations and may thereby decrease the risk for metabolic syndrome and reproductive organ cancer. J. Nutr. 139: 1135–1142, 2009.

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