Bicarbonate is an important pH regulator in the body and serves as a major part of the intracellular buffer system. Although much is known about its involvement in many essential human metabolic processes, there is not a lot of data about the association between serum bicarbonate and glucose metabolism.
In order to further investigate “the association between serum bicarbonate and the risk of progressing to impaired fasting glucose (IFG)/diabetes mellitus (DM),” Li S, Wang Y-Y, et al. studied 5318 participants aged 18–70 years, with no history of diabetes or concomitant chronic disease, over a period of 6 years.
Of these participants, 210 participants developed IFG after a median 2.2 years of follow-up. “After adjusting for multiple factors, including sex, age, fasting plasma glucose (FPG), and body mass index at baseline, the participants in the first (OR 4.18, 95% CI 2.42 to 7.21; p<0.001), second (OR 3.02, 95% CI 1.71 to 5.33; p<0.001) and third (OR 2.12, 95% CI 1.15 to 3.89; p=0.015) quartiles of serum bicarbonate had higher odds for progressing to IFG/DM compared with those in the highest quartile.”
Thus, they concluded that a lower serum bicarbonate is, in fact, associated with a higher risk of developing IFG/DM, which also corroborated the results of a previous study from 2012 showing high-serum bicarbonate is associated with low risk of progression to T2DM in women.