Background and aims: The accumulation of fat increases the formation of lipid peroxides, which are partly scavenged by alpha-tocopherol (α-TOH). Here, we aimed to investigate the associations between different measures of (abdominal) fat and levels of urinary α-TOH metabolites in middle-aged individuals.
Methods and results: In this cross-sectional analysis in the Netherlands Epidemiology of Obesity study (N = 511, 53% women; mean [SD] age of 55 [6.1] years), serum α-TOH and α-TOH metabolites from 24-h urine were measured as alpha-tocopheronolactone hydroquinone (α-TLHQ, oxidized) and alpha-carboxymethyl-hydroxychroman (α-CEHC, enzymatically converted) using liquid-chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Body mass index and total body fat were measured, and abdominal subcutaneous and visceral adipose tissue (aSAT and VAT) were assessed using magnetic resonance imaging. Using multivariable-adjusted linear regression analyses, we analysed the associations of BMI, TBF, aSAT and VAT with levels of urinary α-TOH metabolites, adjusted for confounders. We observed no evidence for associations between body fat measures and serum α-TOH. Higher BMI and TBF were associated with lower urinary levels of TLHQ (0.95 [95%CI: 0.90, 1.00] and 0.94 [0.88, 1.01] times per SD, respectively) and with lower TLHQ relative to CEHC (0.93 [0.90, 0.98] and 0.93 [0.87, 0.98] times per SD, respectively). We observed similar associations for VAT (TLHQ: 0.94 [0.89, 0.99] times per SD), but not for aSAT.
Conclusions: Opposite to our research hypothesis, higher abdominal adiposity was moderately associated with lower levels of oxidized α-TOH metabolites, which might reflect lower vitamin E antioxidative activity in individuals with higher abdominal fat instead.