3-Methylglutaric (Females Under Age 13)

Optimal Result: 0.07 - 0.95 mmol/mol creatinine.

3-methylglutaric acid is an organic acid classically associated with two distinct leucine pathway enzyme deficiencies.

3-methylglutaric acid is excreted in urine of individuals harboring deficiencies in 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl (HMG) CoA lyase (HMGCL) or 3-methylglutaconyl CoA hydratase (AUH). Whereas 3MG CoA is not part of the leucine catabolic pathway, it is likely formed via a side reaction involving reduction of the α-ß trans double bond in the leucine pathway intermediate, 3-methylglutaconyl CoA. While the metabolic basis for the accumulation of 3MG acid in subjects with deficiencies in HMGCL or AUH is apparent, the occurrence of 3MG aciduria in a host of unrelated inborn errors of metabolism associated with compromised mitochondrial energy metabolism is less clear. Herein, a novel mitochondrial biosynthetic pathway termed "the acetyl CoA diversion pathway", provides an explanation. The pathway is initiated by defective electron transport chain function which, ultimately, inhibits acetyl CoA entry into the TCA cycle. When this occurs, 3MG acid is synthesized in five steps from acetyl CoA via a novel reaction sequence, providing a metabolic rationale for the connection between 3MG aciduria and compromised mitochondrial energy metabolism.


Jones DE, Perez L, Ryan RO. 3-Methylglutaric acid in energy metabolism. Clin Chim Acta. 2020 Mar;502:233-239. doi: 10.1016/j.cca.2019.11.006. Epub 2019 Nov 12. PMID: 31730811; PMCID: PMC6994337.

What does it mean if your 3-Methylglutaric (Females Under Age 13) result is too high?

An increased level of 3-Methylglutaric acid in your Organic Acids Test (OAT) results may indicate a few potential factors:

Reduced Leucine Metabolism: 3-Methylglutaric acid is associated with the metabolism of the amino acid leucine. A slight increase may suggest a reduced ability to metabolize leucine. This abnormality is often found in the genetic disease called methylglutaconic aciduria, which affects leucine metabolism.

Potential Genetic Concerns: Elevated 3-Methylglutaric acid levels could be indicative of an underlying genetic condition related to leucine metabolism.

Dietary Considerations: In some cases, dietary factors can contribute to mild elevations in 3-Methylglutaric acid levels. It's essential to review your dietary choices with a healthcare professional.

Metabolic Imbalance: Elevated levels might also suggest a metabolic imbalance, which could have various underlying causes.

Possible treatment options:

Supplementation with the following may be useful:

- coenzyme Q10,

- niacin,

- L-carnitine and acetyl-L-carnitine,

- riboflavin,

- nicotinamide,

- biotin,

- and vitamin E

Dietary considerations to treat elevated levels of 3-Methylglutaric acid on an Organic Acids Test (OAT) may include:

Low-Fat Low-Leucine Diet: Elevated 3-Methylglutaric acid levels are often associated with difficulties in metabolizing the amino acid leucine. To address this, a low-fat low-leucine diet may be recommended. Reducing dietary intake of leucine-containing foods can help manage this condition.

L-Carnitine Supplementation: Studies suggest that L-carnitine supplementation may be beneficial for individuals with 3-Methylglutaric aciduria, as it can assist in the metabolism of certain organic acids. However, the use of supplements should be discussed with a healthcare provider.

Balanced Nutrition: Maintaining a well-balanced diet with adequate nutrients is crucial. Ensure that you are getting a variety of vitamins and minerals through your diet to support overall health and metabolic processes.

Additional notes:

Consult with a Healthcare Provider: It's essential to work closely with a healthcare provider or a metabolic specialist who can provide personalized dietary recommendations based on your specific OAT results and health condition.

Monitor Progress: Regularly monitoring your progress and conducting follow-up OAT tests to assess the effectiveness of dietary interventions is important. Adjustments to the diet may be needed based on your response.

Always consult with a healthcare professional for tailored guidance, as dietary considerations can vary depending on individual factors and the severity of the condition. They can provide you with a comprehensive plan to manage elevated 3-Methylglutaric acid levels and ensure that your nutritional needs are met while addressing the underlying metabolic issue.

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