Total plasma homocysteine, folate, and vitamin b12 status in healthy Iranian adults: the Tehran homocysteine survey 2003–2004-a cross – sectional population based studyReport as inadecuate

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BMC Public Health

, 6:29

First Online: 13 February 2006Received: 29 December 2004Accepted: 13 February 2006DOI: 10.1186-1471-2458-6-29

Cite this article as: Fakhrzadeh, H., Ghotbi, S., Pourebrahim, R. et al. BMC Public Health 2006 6: 29. doi:10.1186-1471-2458-6-29


BackgroundElevated plasma total homocysteine is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease and a sensitive marker of the inadequate vitamin B12 and folate insufficiency. Folate and vitamin B12 have a protective effect on cardiovascular disease. This population based study was conducted to evaluate the plasma total homocysteine, folate, and vitamin B12 in healthy Iranian individuals.

MethodsThis study was a part of the Cardiovascular Risk Factors Survey in the Population Lab Region of Tehran University has been designed and conducted based on the methodology of MONICA-WHO Project. A total of 1214 people aged 25–64 years, were recruited and assessed regarding demographic characteristics, homocysteine, folate, and vitamin B12 levels with interview, questionnaires, examination and blood sampling. Blood samples were gathered and analyzed according to standard methods.

ResultsThe variables were assessed in 1214 participants including 428 men 35.3% and 786 women 64.7%. Age-adjusted prevalence of hyperhomocysteinemia Hcy≥15 μmol-L was 73.1% in men and 41.07% in women P < 0.0001. Geometric mean of plasma homocysteine was 19.02 ± 1.46 μmol-l in men and 14.05 ± 1.45 μmol-l in women P < 0.004 which increased by ageing. Age-adjusted prevalence of low serum folate level was 98.67% in men and 97.92% in women. Age-adjusted prevalence of low serum vitamin B12 level was 26.32% in men and 27.2% in women. Correlation coefficients Pearson-s r between log tHcy and serum folate, and vitamin B12 indicated an inverse correlation r = -0.27, r = -0.19, P < 0.0001, respectively.

ConclusionThese results revealed that the prevalence of hyperhomocysteinemia, low folate and vitamin B12 levels are considerably higher than other communities. Implementation of preventive interventions such as food fortification with folic acid is necessary.

List of abbreviationsCBS cystathionine-ß-synthase

CHD coronary heart disease

EMRC Endocrinology and Metabolism Research Center

Hcy homocysteine

HHcy hyperhomocysteinemia

HPLC High-performance Liquid Chromatography

MONICA Multinational Monitoring of Trends and Determinants in Cardiovascular Diseases

MTHFR methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase

NTDs neural tube defects

tHcy plasma total homocysteine

RPM round per minute

RT room temperature

TUMS Tehran University of Medical Sciences

WHO World Health Organization

Hossein Fakhrzadeh, Sara Ghotbi, Rasoul Pourebrahim, Masoumeh Nouri, Ramin Heshmat, Fatemeh Bandarian, Alireza Shafaee and Bagher Larijani contributed equally to this work.

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Author: Hossein Fakhrzadeh - Sara Ghotbi - Rasoul Pourebrahim - Masoumeh Nouri - Ramin Heshmat - Fatemeh Bandarian - Alireza Shafae


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