Vitamin intake: A possible determinant of plasma homocyst(e)ine among middle-aged adults

Tomoko Shimakawa, F. Javier Nieto, M. Rene Malinow, Lloyd E. Chambless, Pamela J. Schreiner, Moyses Szklo

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PURPOSE: Many epidemiologic studies have identified elevated plasma homocyst(e)ine as a risk factor for atherosclerosis and thromboembolic diseases. To examine the relationship between vitamin intakes and plasma homocyst(e)ine, we analyzed dietary intake data from a case-control study of 322 middle-aged individuals with atherosclerosis in the carotid artery and 318 control subjects without evidence of this disease. METHODS: All of these individuals were selected from a probability sample of 15,800 men and women who participated in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study. RESULTS: Plasma homocyst(e)ine was inversely associated with intakes of folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 (controls only for this vitamin)-the three key vitamins in homocyst(e)ine metabolism. Among nonusers of vitamin supplement products, on average each fertile increase in intake of these vitamins was associated with 0.4 to 0.7 μmol/L decrease in plasma homocyst(e)ine. An inverse association of plasma homocyst(e)ine was also found with thiamin, riboflavin, calcium, phosphorus, and iron. Methionine and protein intake did not show any significant association with plasma homocyst(e)ine. CONCLUSIONS: In almost all analyses, cases and controls showed similar associations between dietary variables and plasma homocyst(e)ine. Plasma homocyst(e)ine among users of vitamin supplement products was 1.5 μmol/L lower than that among nonusers. Further studies to examine possible caused relationships among vitamin intake, plasma homocyst(e)ine, and cardiovascular disease are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-293
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of epidemiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 1997

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by contracts NOl-HC-55015, NOl-HC-55016, NOl-HC-55018, NOl-HC-55019, NOl-HC-55020, NOl-HC-55021, and NOl-HC-55022 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. The authors thank Walter Willett and Laura Sampson for permission and assistance in using their food frequency questionnaire. The authors also thank the following ARIC personnel: Paula Bell, Hope Bryan, Myra Carpenter, Limin Clegg, Chris Coffey, John Crouch, Thomas Goodwin, Dick Hayes, Leonard Hearne, Yvonne Hebert, Steve Hutton, Jean Johnson, Doris Jones, Ken Kaufman, Ho Kim, Charmaine Marquis, Alison Meyer, Stephen Noga, Joy Rollins, Debbie Williams, Patsy Tacker, Climmon Walker, Louis Wijnberg, Kiduk Yang, Marston Youngblood, and Ding Yi Zhao.


  • Diet
  • Folate
  • Homocyst(e)ine
  • Nutrition surveys
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin B6


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