Homocysteine and its nutritional determinants in two ethnic groups of slovakia.
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Cent Eur J Public Health. 2004 Dec;12(4):217-9. Related Articles, Links
Krajcovicova-Kudlackova M, Blazicek P, Ginter E, Valachicova M.
Slovak Medical University, Bratislava, Slovak Republic. email@example.com
Determinants of total homocysteine involve demographic (age, sex, ethnic origin), genetic (enzymatic defects of metabolic homocysteine pathways) and acquired factors (deficiency of B-group vitamins, state of health, lifestyle). Plasma levels of total homocysteine and serum levels of vitamin B12, folic acid, vitamin B6 were measured in adult apparently healthy Romany minority subjects (n=119) and compared with those levels in apparently healthy subjects of majority Slovak population (n=146). Mean homocysteine level was similar in both groups (9.92 micromol/l in the Romany vs. 9.61 micromol/l in majority group). Hyperhomocysteinemia was only observed in 3% of both ethnic probands. Vitamin B12 level was equal (301 micromol/l in the Romany and 311 micromol/ in majority group). Deficient levels were found in 4% of the Romany subjects and 9% of the majority subjects. Folic acid level was significantly lower in Romany group (11.3 nmol/l vs. 14.8 nmol/l) with deficiency in 42% of the Romany subjects vs. 28% in the majority subjects. This finding is a consequence of lower consumption of fruit, vegetables, pulses and whole grain products in the Romany group. Vitamin B6 deficiency was found in 68% of the Romany subjects and 40% of majority subjects. This vitamin is homocysteine determinant under excessive methionine intake (overnutrition with predominance of animal protein intake). As was demonstrated in a dietetic questionnaires, the Romany subjects are more frequent consumers of meat and eggs. This nutrition regime should indicate an increased homocysteine level under vitamin B6 deficiency. The results of normal homocysteine levels in the Romany population under condition of higher folic acid and vitamin B6 deficiencies, smoking and higher alcohol consumption may suggest a more effective homocysteine metabolism in relation to different ethnic origin.