Elevated levels of homocysteine are associated with cardiovascular disease in adults. Vitamin B-12 and folate are necessary to convert homocysteine to methionine, and thus deficiencies of these vitamins are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease has been detected in children with elevated homocysteine concentrations. However, it is unclear if supplementation with vitamin B-12 and/or folic acid in children could reduce their cardiometabolic risk factors. Manapurath and colleagues conducted a study to determine if supplements of these vitamins were protective and report their results in the May 2023 issue of The Journal of Nutrition.

Children between 6 and 30 months of age were provided with vitamin B-12 and/or folic acid supplements for 6 months in a double-blind, randomized controlled trial conducted in New Delhi, India. The supplements contained 1.8 µg of vitamin B-12, 150 µg of folic acid, or both vitamins. Six years after completing the supplement regimen plasma concentrations of total homocysteine, leptin, high molecular weight adiponectin, and total adiponectin were determined.

Vitamin B-12 or folate deficiencies existed in 32% of the children at baseline. Compared to the placebo treatment, the combined vitamin supplement led to 1.19 µmol lower total homocysteine concentrations, and the vitamin B-12 supplement was associated with lower leptin-adiponectin ratio in some subjects. The authors concluded that supplements containing vitamin B-12 and folic acid decreased plasma total homocysteine in children 6 years after receiving the supplements, suggesting there are persistent beneficial metabolic benefits of those supplements in impoverished populations.


Manapurath R, Strand TA, Chowdhury R, Kvestad I, Yajnik CS, Bhandari N, Taneja S. Daily folic acid and/or Vitamin B12 supplementation between 6 and 30 months of age and cardiometabolic risk markers after 6-7 years: A follow-up of a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Nutrition, Volume 153, Issue 5, May 2023, Pages 1493-1501, doi.org/10.1016/j.tjnut.2023.03.003.

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