Folate intake, lifestyle factors, and homocysteine concentrations in younger and older women

Lone Banke Rasmussen, L. Ovesen, I. Bulow, N. Knudsen, P. Laurberg, H. Perrild

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Background: An elevated total homocysteine (tHcy) concentration is considered to be an independent risk factor for cardiovascular diseases and has also been associated with an increased risk of neural tube defects. Objective: The objective of this study was to investigate folate intake, folate status, and the association between folate intake. other dietary and lifestyle factors, and tHcy concentrations in young and older women. Design: tHcy concentrations were measured in 290 young women aged 25-30 y and in 288 older women aged 60-65 y. All participants completed questionnaires about factors including lifestyle, health, and use of vitamin supplements. Red blood cell folate was measured in 204 of the participants. A subgroup of 258 participants completed dietary records. Results: Median tHcy was 7.6 mu mol/L (range: 6.5-8.9) in the younger women and 9.4 mu mol/L (7.7-11.1) in the older women. Folate intake from diet was 283 (224-348) and 268(210-326) mug/d, respectively, in the 2 age groups. Folic acid intake from supplements (P <0.001 for the younger women and P = 0.026 for the older women) and total folate intake (P = 0.024 and P = 0.079) were inversely associated with log tHcy in multiple linear regression analyses. Smoking status, coffee consumption, systolic blood pressure, and body mass index were positively associated and estrogen replacement therapy and tea consumption were inversely associated with log tHcy in some of the models. Conclusions: According to the criteria used, between 1% and 36% of the women had suboptimal folate intake. Folic acid is a strong predictor of tHcy concentration; however, several dietary and other lifestyle factors seem to be important as well.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)1156-1163
Publication statusPublished - 2000


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