Objective: To determine the plasma/serum levels of homocysteine, and vitamins folate, B6 and B12, in Pakistani healthy adults.
Study design: Cross-sectional study.
Place and duration of study: The Aga Khan University, from October 2006 to April 2008.
Methodology: Fasting levels of plasma/serum folic acid, pyridoxal phosphate (PLP), vitamin B12 and homocysteine were determined in 290 apparently healthy hospital personnel from institutions in two cities of Pakistan. Spearman correlation test and linear regression analysis was conducted.
Results: There were 219 males and 71 females with mean age of 46+/-10.5 years and mean body mass index of 23.5 +/-3.8. Mean plasma homocysteine levels in Pakistani normal adults were found to be 17.95+/-8.4 micromol/l. Mean concentrations of plasma/serum folate, vitamin B12 and PLP were found to be 5+/-3.9 ng/ml, 522+/-296 pg/ml and 21.6+/-14 nmol/l, respectively. Serum/plasma levels of folate, vitamin B12 and PLP were negatively correlated with plasma homocysteine (rho coefficient=-0.367, p<0.001; -0.173, p=0.004; -0.185, p=0.002, respectively). Serum folate and plasma PLP levels were inversely related with plasma homocysteine, adjusted for gender, age, smoking and body mass index (p<0.001 and p=0.003, respectively). Percent deficiency values of folate, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 were 39.7%, 52.8% and 6.6% respectively.
Conclusion: The high levels of plasma homocysteine could indicate a reason for mass micronutrient supplementation to prevent the high incidence of cardiovascular disease observed in Pakistani population.