The risk of cardio vascular disease (CVD) doubles after menopause. Plasma homocysteine (hCy) is a risk factor which is influenced by vitamins B12,B6 and folate. The present study was conducted to examine the relationship of plasma hCy to the three vitamins and other contributing variables in early natural menopause.
Methods: Participants were healthy, non smoking Caucasian women 3 to 5 years postmenopausal (n = 26) or premenopausal between 30 and 45 y(n = 30). Anthropometric data, dietary records and plasma concentrations of hCy, vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and folate were obtained.
Results: The nutritional status of vitamins B6, B12 and folate as measured by dietary intake and blood concentrations was adequate in both groups. Mean fasting plasma total (t) hCy concentration of postmenopausal group was 2-fold higher than the value found for control group (P < 0.0001) without oral methionine loading. The difference between the two groups remained highly significant after adjustment for confounding variables by multivariate analysis, suggesting that the effect of estrogen deficiency was direct.
Conclusion: In addition to the loss of the protective effects of estrogen on their cardiovascular physiology and lipid metabolism, postmenopausal women are exposed to higher plasma hCy concentrations and deleterious cardiovascular effects. The exact mechanism is not known but does not seem to be related to coenzyme deficiency.