A lower serum folate level is common in older populations and is associated with increased serum homocysteine concentration. In turn, an elevated homocysteine level is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and age-related diseases. Contemporary studies of folate and dietary risk factors for cardiovascular disease among the elderly population in Thailand are lacking. This cross-sectional study aimed to investigate the relationships among serum folate, homocysteine level, and nutritional status in the elderly Thai. Three hundred individuals, aged 60 years and over, underwent anthropometric and physiological measurements, and biochemical parameters, and eating habits were also determined. Folate insufficiency was found in approximately 35% of subjects. Folate and homocysteine showed a significant inverse correlation. Serum homocysteine levels rose with increasing age. Folate deficiency and high waist-to-hip ratio were associated with 7-fold and 2.5-fold increased risk for hyperhomocysteinemia, respectively. There were positive correlations between homocysteine and waist-to-hip ratio and systolic blood pressure, but a negative correlation between homocysteine and high-density lipoprotein ( r = -0.239, p < 0.01), which are markers for cardiovascular disease risk. Folate negatively correlated with body mass index, waist-to-hip ratio, and diastolic blood pressure, but positively with high-density lipoprotein ( r = 0.162, p < 0.01). Investigation of eating habits showed that low consumption of green leafy vegetables and high consumption of sugary foods were associated with high homocysteine levels. Given associations between nutritional status and cardiovascular disease confirmed in this study, nutrition education, holistic health promotion, and appropriate behavioral modification of eating habits represent important measures for preventing premature cardiovascular disease in the elderly Thai population.
Reference: Paratthakonkun C, Kaewprasert S, Arthan D, Soonthornworasiri N, Tungtrongchitr R, Prangthip P, Wongsutthilerd A, Pooudoung S, Chantaranipapong Y, Nakosiri W, Aroonnual A, Chupeerach C, Chanchai S, Nana A. Associations among serum folate, waist-to-hip ratio, lipid profile, and eating habits with homocysteine in an elderly Thai population. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2019 Apr 15:1-9.