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Could Insulin and Hemoglobin A1c Levels be Predictors of Hunger- Related Malnutrition/Undernutrition Without Disease? by Seyit Uyar, Suheyla Gorar, Mehmet Kok, Hakan Ozer, Gokhan Koker, Feyzi Bostan, Ayhan H. Cekin

Background: Malnutrition results in functional changes in the liver and pancreas that negatively affect carbohydrate metabolism. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether insulin hormone and glycated hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) could serve as predictors of hunger-related malnutrition/undernutrition without disease in adults.
Methods: The Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool (MUST) was used to assess malnutrition in this single-center, cross-sectional study. The malnourished group (n = 67) comprised patients with a MUST score of ≥ 2, and the control group (n = 31) included subjects with a MUST score of 0 - 1. Serum albumin, prealbumin, C-reactive protein (CRP), fasting glucose, fasting insulin, hemoglobin and HbA1c levels, body mass index (BMI), and homoeostatic model for insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) scores were compared between the two groups.
Results: No significant difference was determined between the control and malnourished groups in respect of age or gender. HbA1c [5.5% (5 - 6.2) vs. 5.2% (3.9 - 6.7), p = 0.001], insulin levels [7.37 (2.36 - 52.16) vs. 3.91(1.17 - 30.08) µIU/mL, p < 0.001], and BMI [21.7 (14.1 - 34.0) vs. 17.8 (12.0 - 26.6) kg/m2, p < 0.001] were significantly lower in the malnourished group. Logistic regression analysis revealed that BMI was the only significant parameter (odds ratio [95% confidence interval] 0.680 [0.543 - 0.852]).
Conclusions: Plasma insulin and HbA1c levels were significantly decreased in young adult malnourished patients without disease who had normal fasting glucose levels. These two parameters are known to be unaffected by inflammatory states, and therefore warrant further research on larger and different age sub-populations to assess if they might be early predictors of hunger-related malnutrition without disease.

DOI: 10.7754/Clin.Lab.2018.180403