Background: We recently reported that the elevated blood pressure (BP) observed in patients with cardiovascular disease who are homozygous for the 677C→T polymorphism (TT genotype) in the gene encoding methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) was responsive to supplementation with riboflavin-the cofactor for MTHFR.
Objective: The objective was to investigate the effect of riboflavin on BP targeted at patients with the TT genotype 4 y after initial investigation, during which time major changes in the clinical guidelines for antihypertensive therapy were introduced.
Design: A total of 83 patients (representing all 3 genotypes) who participated in a placebo-controlled riboflavin intervention for 16 wk in 2004 agreed to take part. Nested within this follow-up, those with the TT genotype (n = 31) proceeded to intervention with riboflavin (1.6 mg/d for 16 wk) or placebo, conducted in a crossover style whereby the 2004 treatment groups were reversed.
Results: At follow-up in 2008, as in 2004, patients with the TT genotype had higher systolic BP (P < 0.01), with a nonsignificant trend noted for higher diastolic BP (P = 0.051). Despite the marked changes in antihypertensive therapy that had occurred, BP remained unchanged in patients with the TT genotype at the time of follow-up. Riboflavin supplementation (administered in 2004 and 2008) produced an overall decrease in systolic (-9.2 ± 12.8 mm Hg; P = 0.001) and diastolic (-6.0 ± 9.9 mm Hg; P = 0.003) BP.
Conclusions: Optimizing riboflavin status offers a low-cost targeted strategy for managing elevated BP in this genetically at-risk group. These findings, if confirmed in the general population, could have important implications for the prevention of hypertension.