Article open access publication

Plasma alkylresorcinols, biomarkers of whole-grain wheat and rye intake, and risk of type 2 diabetes in Scandinavian men and women.

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Oxford University Press (OUP), ISSN 0002-9165

Volume 104, 1, 2016

DOI:10.3945/ajcn.116.133496, Dimensions: pub.1071753857, PMID: 27281306,



  1. (1) Wrocław Medical University, grid.4495.c
  2. (2) Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, grid.6341.0
  3. (3) Danish Cancer Society, grid.417390.8
  4. (4) Uppsala University, grid.8993.b
  5. (5) Harvard University, grid.38142.3c
  6. (6) National University of Singapore, grid.4280.e
  7. (7) Aarhus University, grid.7048.b, AU
  8. (8) Departments of Public Health and Clinical Medicine and.
  9. (9) Umeå University, grid.12650.30
  10. (10) Karolinska Institute, grid.4714.6


BACKGROUND: Studies that use dietary biomarkers to investigate the association between whole-grain intake and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2D) are lacking. OBJECTIVE: We examined the association between plasma total alkylresorcinols and the alkylresorcinol C17:0-to-C21:0 ratio, biomarkers of whole-grain wheat and rye intake and relative whole-grain rye over whole-grain wheat intake, respectively, and the risk of T2D among Scandinavian men and women. DESIGN: A nested case-control study was established within the Northern Sweden Health and Disease Study and the Danish Diet, Cancer and Health cohort. Alkylresorcinol concentrations and the ratios of C17:0 to C21:0 were determined in plasma samples from 931 case-control pairs. ORs for T2D were calculated for plasma total alkylresorcinol concentration or C17:0-to-C21:0 ratio in quartiles with the use of conditional logistic regression that was adjusted for potential confounders. Additional analyses with whole-grain wheat and rye intake estimated from food-frequency questionnaires (FFQs) as exposures were also performed. RESULTS: The plasma total alkylresorcinol concentration was not associated with T2D risk (OR: 1.34; 95% CI: 0.95, 1.88) for the highest compared with the lowest quartiles in multivariable adjusted models. However, the C17:0-to-C21:0 ratio was associated with a lower diabetes risk (OR: 0.54; 95% CI: 0.37, 0.78). Analyses with whole-grain intake estimated from FFQs yielded similar results. CONCLUSIONS: Total whole-grain wheat and rye intake, reflected by alkylresorcinols in plasma, was not associated with a lower risk of T2D in a population with high whole-grain intake. In contrast, the proportion of whole-grain rye to whole-grain wheat intake, indicated by the plasma C17:0-to-C21:0 ratio, was inversely associated with T2D. This suggests that whole-grain intake dominated by rye may be favorable for T2D prevention.


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