Supplementation with [6S]-5-methyltetrahydrofolate or folic acid equally reduces serum homocysteine concentrations in older adults

Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2018 Feb;69(1):64-73. doi: 10.1080/09637486.2017.1320536. Epub 2017 May 2.


Folic acid (FA) supplementation reduces the elevated serum homocysteine (Hcy) concentrations. [6 S]-5-methyltetrahydrofolate ([6 S]-5-MTHF) is an alternative to FA due to possible advantages, that is, no masking cobalamin deficiency. The study aim was to evaluate the effectiveness of [6 S]-5-MTHF in relations to FA supplementation in reducing the serum Hcy. Healthy volunteers, aged 50-65, had normal serum folate and did not use supplements with B-vitamins for 6 months. Forty subjects were divided into two groups: receiving 400 μg/d FA or the equimolar amount of [6 S]-5-MTHF. Blood was collected at baseline and after 4 weeks. In both groups, a significant decrease in the mean Hcy level after intervention period was observed. Supplementation with [6 S]-5-MTHF was slightly less effective, but not significantly, in Hcy lowering than FA (p = .243 between the groups), that is, by 7.8% and 13.4%, respectively. The [6 S]-5-MTHF was shown to be an adequate alternative to FA in reducing Hcy concentrations.

Keywords: 5-Methyltetrahydrofolate; folic acid; homocysteine; older adults; supplementation.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Diet
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Folic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Folic Acid / blood
  • Homocysteine / blood*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Tetrahydrofolates / administration & dosage*
  • Tetrahydrofolates / blood
  • Vitamin B Complex / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin B Complex / blood


  • Tetrahydrofolates
  • Homocysteine
  • Vitamin B Complex
  • Folic Acid
  • 5-methyltetrahydrofolate