Research: WOODSIDE and colleagues,

Listed in Issue 28

Abstract

WOODSIDE and colleagues, School of Clinical Medicine, The Queens University of Belfast, United Kingdom. p9495754@qub.ac.uk write that mild hyperhomocysteinaemia is considered to be a risk factor for premature heart disease.

Background

Methodology

The authors screened 509 clinically healthy working men, aged 30-49 years for plasma homocysteine and 5,10-methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) genotype status. Men with slightly raised homocysteine concentrations > or = 8.34 micromol/L) were selected for intervention. The authors then conducted a randomised controlled trial to assess the effects of B and antioxidant vitamin supplementation upon homocysteine concentrations. The 132 men were randomly assigned to one of 4 groups: 1) B vitamin supplementation alone: 1 mg folic acid, 7.2 mg pyridoxine, 0.02 mg cyanocobalamin); 2) antioxidant vitamin supplementation alone: 150 mg ascorbic acid (vitamin C), 67 mg RRR-alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E) and 9 mg beta-carotene; 3) B plus antioxidant vitamins; 4) placebo. The intervention was double-blind.

Results

101 men finished the 8-week intervention. There were significant decreases (32% and 30% respectively) in homocysteine concentrations in both groups receiving B vitamins, both with or without antioxidants. The effect of the B vitamins alone over 8 weeks was a reduced homocysteine concentration of 27.9%, compared to a nonsignificant increase of 5.1% observed for antioxidants alone. There was no evidence of any interaction between the two groups of vitamins and the effect of B vitamin supplementation appeared to depend upon MTHFR genotype.

Conclusion

Supplementation with B vitamins with or without antioxidants reduced homocysteine in men with mildly raised concentrations and thus may be effective in reducing cardiovascular risk.

References

Woodside JV et al. Effect of B-group vitamins and antioxidant vitamins on hyperhomocysteinemia: a double-blind, randomized, factorial-design, controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr 67(5): 858-66. May 1998.

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