Homocysteine concentrations in a German cohort of 500 individuals: Reference ranges and determinants of plasma levels in healthy children and their parents
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Elevated plasma homocysteine is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and a sensitive marker of inadequate vitamin B12 and folate status. We studied 257 pupils (120 boys, 137 girls, aged 6–17 years) and their parents (88 males, 172 females, aged 26–50 years). Our measurements were part of a national Bavarian health and nutrition examination survey evaluating cardiovascular risk factors. A mild hyperhomocysteinemia (Hcys >15 μmol/l) occurred in 7% of the adults, but in none of the children. Men had significantly higher Hcys levels than women (p < 0.0001), boys and girls had comparable concentrations. For adults and children, Hcys correlated inversely with vitamin B12 and folate and positively with the lean body mass and creatinine in serum, but not with cystatin C. Genetic and nutritional factors are determinants of Hcys metabolism. The correlation of Hcys and serum creatinine is dependent on the metabolic link between Hcys production and creatine synthesis.
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