Food and Behaviour Research

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A combination of omega-3 fatty acids, folic acid and B-group vitamins is superior at lowering homocysteine than omega-3 alone: a meta-analysis

Samantha Loren Dawson, Steven John Bowe, Timothy Charles Crowe (2016) Nutrition Research  doi:10.1016/j.nutres.2016.03.010 

Web URL: View this abstract via ScienceDirect here


The aim of the study was to assess whether omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation alone or in combination with folic acid and B-group vitamins is effective in lowering homocysteine.

The Medline Ovid, Embase and Cochrane databases were searched for randomized-controlled trial studies that intervened with omega-3 supplementation (with or without folic acid) and measured changes in homocysteine concentration. Studies were pooled using a random effects model for meta-analysis. Three different models were analyzed: all trials combined, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid trials, and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids with folic acid and B-group vitamin trials. Nineteen studies were included, consisting of 3267 participants completing 21 trials. Studies were heterogeneous; varying by dose, duration and participant health conditions.

Across all trials, omega-3 supplementation was effective in lowering homocysteine by an average of 1.18μmol/L (95%CI: (− 1.89, − 0.48), p = 0.001). The average homocysteine-lowering effect was greater when omega-3 supplementation was combined with folic acid and B-group vitamins (− 1.37μmol/L, 95%CI: (− 2.38, − 0.36), p < 0.01) compared to omega-3 supplementation alone (− 1.09μmol/L 95%CI: (− 2.04,− 0.13), p = 0.03). Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation was associated with a modest reduction in homocysteine.

For the purposes of reducing homocysteine, a combination of omega-3s (0.2 – 6 g/day), folic acid (150 – 2500μg/day) and vitamins B6 and B12 may be more effective than omega-3 supplementation alone.


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