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Effect of B-group vitamins and antioxidant vitamins on hyperhomocysteinemia: a double-blind, randomized, factorial-design, controlled trial

Author

Woodside JV, Yarnell JW, McMaster D, Young IS, Harmon DL, McCrum EE, et al

Date

5/1998

Journal

Am J Clin Nutr

Abstract

Mild hyperhomocysteinemia is accepted as a risk factor for premature cardiovascular disease. In a population with a high prevalence of cardiovascular disease, we screened a group of clinically healthy working men aged 30-49 y (n = 509) for plasma homocysteine and 5,10-methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) genotype status. Those with mildly elevated homocysteine concentrations (> or = 8.34 micromol/L) were selected for intervention. In a randomized, factorial-design, controlled trial we assessed the effects of B-group vitamins and antioxidant vitamin supplementation on homocysteine concentrations. The 132 men were randomly assigned to one of four groups: supplementation with B-group vitamins alone (1 mg folic acid, 7.2 mg pyridoxine, and 0.02 mg cyanocobalamin), antioxidant vitamins alone (150 mg ascorbic acid, 67 mg RRR-alpha-tocopherol, and 9 mg beta-carotene), B-group vitamins with antioxidant vitamins, or placebo. Intervention was double-blind. A total of 101 men completed the 8-wk intervention. When homocysteine concentrations were analyzed by group, significant (P < 0.001) decreases (32.0% and 30.0%, respectively) were observed in both groups receiving B-group vitamins either with or without antioxidants. The effect of B-group vitamins alone over 8 wk was a reduction in homocysteine concentrations of 27.9% (95% CI: 22.0%, 33.3%; P < 0.001) whereas antioxidants alone produced a nonsignificant increase of 5.1% (95% CI: -2.8%, 13.6%; P = 0.21). There was no evidence of any interaction between the two groups of vitamins. The effect of B-group vitamin supplementation seemed to depend on MTHFR genotype. Supplementation with the B-group vitamins with or without antioxidants reduced homocysteine in the men with mildly elevated concentrations, and hence may be effective in reducing cardiovascular risk.

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