Food and Behaviour Research

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Vitamins B6 and B12 and folate status in an adult Mediterranean population.

Planells E, Sanchez C, Montellano MA, Mataix J, Llopis J. (2003) Eur J Clin Nutr. 57(6) 777-85. 

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OBJECTIVE: To assess the nutritional status for vitamins B(6) and B(12) and folate in an adult Mediterranean population, in order to identify patterns of intake, groups at risk for deficiency, and factors that might influence this risk.

DESIGN: A cross-sectional epidemiological survey.

SETTING: Andalusia, a western Mediterranean region in southern Spain.

SUBJECTS: The study was carried out with a random sample of 3528 subjects (1813 men, 1715 women) who were between 25 and 60 y of age. Blood samples were obtained for biochemical assays in a random subsample of 384 subjects (183 men, 201 women).

INTERVENTIONS: Food consumption was assessed by 48-h recall. Vitamin B(6) was measured as alpha erythrocyte aspartate aminotransferase activation coefficient (alphaEAST); vitamin B(12) and folate concentrations were measured in plasma. RESULTS: Energy and vitamin intakes were significantly higher in men than in women. In men, intakes were below two-thirds of the RDA in 10.8, 2.9 and 22.6% for B(6), B(12) and folate, respectively. The corresponding figures in women were 16.7, 5.1 and 23.5% for vitamins B(6), B(12) and folate. Age, place of residence and educational level, alcohol use and smoking were also associated with differences in the intake of these nutrients. Biochemical analyses showed that vitamins B(6), B(12) and folate status was acceptable in 75.7, 89.1 and 57.6% of the population, respectively. Plasma concentration of folate was significantly higher in women.

CONCLUSION: Our results provide a precise estimate of the nutritional status for vitamins B(6), B(12) and folate in the adult population of southern Spain. Factors such as age, place of residence, level of education and smoking can increase the risk of inadequate intake of some nutrients. However, these factors did not affect biochemical indexes of nutritional status in the present study.

SPONSORSHIP: Direccion General de Salud Publica and the Health Council of the Andalusian Regional Government.