Plasma homocysteine, B vitamins and bone mineral density in osteoporosis: a possible risk for bone fracture

Afr J Med Med Sci. 2014 Mar;43(1):41-7.


Background: Changes in plasma total homocysteine (tHcy) folic acid, vitamins B12 and B6 in individuals with osteoporosis are reported to impair collagen cross-linking and contribute to low bone mineral density (BMD). There is paucity of information on these associations in osteoporotic patients at risk of bone fractures in Nigeria. The study evaluated plasma tHcy, folic acid, vitamins B12 and B6, in relation to BMD in individuals with osteoporosis.

Methods: Fifty osteoporotic patients age 57.05 +/- 1.9 years were selected and fifty non osteoporotic volunteer's age 54.8 +/- 0.9 years were included as controls. The osteoporotic group consisted of 11 males and 39 females (1:3.5) while the controls consisted of 13 males and 37 females (1:2.8) respectively. Bone mineral density, anthropometric indices plasma tHcy, folic acid, vitamins B12 and B6, were determined using standard procedures.

Results: The results showed remarkably significant increase in plasma tHcy (p < 0.001) (180%) compared with the control value. Striking significant decreases were observed in folic acid (62%), vitamins B12 (42%), B6 (59%) and BMI p < 0.001) compared with control values. Positive correlation was obtained between vitamin B12 and BMD (r = 0.311, p < 0.05).

Conclusion: Significant increase in tHcy with corresponding decreases in folic acid, vitamins B12 and B6 are related to decrease in BMD in osteoporotic patients. These changes could be important risk factors for bone fracture in osteoporotic Nigerians. Supplementation with the B vitamins may be beneficial to the patients.

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Bone Density*
  • Female
  • Folic Acid / blood
  • Homocysteine / blood*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nigeria
  • Osteoporosis / blood
  • Osteoporosis / physiopathology*
  • Osteoporotic Fractures / etiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Vitamin B 12 / blood*
  • Vitamin B 6 / blood*


  • Homocysteine
  • Vitamin B 6
  • Folic Acid
  • Vitamin B 12