Dietary strategies for lowering homocysteine concentrations.Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Jun; 71(6):1448-54.AJ
Elevated plasma total homocysteine (tHcy) concentrations are associated with increased risk of vascular disease, and there is a strong inverse association between dietary and blood folate and blood tHcy concentrations. Increased folate consumption may lower the risk of tHcy-mediated cardiovascular disease.
The objective was to determine the most appropriate means of increasing dietary folate to reduce plasma tHcy.
Sixty-five free-living subjects aged 36-71 y with tHcy concentrations >/=9 micromol/L participated in a randomized, controlled trial to compare 3 approaches for increasing dietary folate to approximately 600 microg/d: folic acid supplementation, consumption of folic acid-fortified breakfast cereals, and increased consumption of folate-rich foods.
An intake of 437 microg folic acid/d from supplements resulted in a 27-nmol/L increase in serum folate and a 21% reduction in tHcy, relative to the change in a control group. In subjects who consumed folic acid-fortified breakfast cereal, folate intake increased by an average of 298 microg, serum folate increased by 21 nmol/L, and tHcy concentrations decreased by 24%. Increased intakes of folate-rich foods resulted in a 418-microg increase in dietary folate, a 7-nmol/L increase in serum folate, and a 9% reduction in tHcy concentrations. The decrease in tHcy was negatively correlated (r = -0.66) with the increase in serum folate.
Daily consumption of folic acid-fortified breakfast cereals and the use of folic acid supplements appear to be the most effective means of reducing tHcy concentrations. The reduction in tHcy was significantly negatively correlated with the increase in serum folate, which may be a useful marker for measuring dietary change.