A population study of the influence of beer consumption on folate and homocysteine concentrations.
O. Mayer Jr., J.Simon and H.Rosolova
Europ. J. Clin. Nutr., 2001, 55(7), 605.


OBJECTIVE: Mild hyperhomocysteinemia is a significant and independent risk factor for vascular diseases. Blood total homocysteine concentration (tHcy) is considered to be the product of an interaction between genetic and nutritional factors notably intake of folate, vitamin B12 and pyridoxine. The aim of the study was to determine whether regular intake of beer containing large amount of folate and other vitamins influences the tHcy blood concentrations.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional population-based survey.

SETTING: Adult population, residents of Pilsen (Czech Republic) and vicinity.

SUBJECTS: Population series included 292 males and 251 females aged 35-65 y, mean age 53.4 y. All subjects were examined by a standard protocol for clinical, anthropometrical and laboratory estimations.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: tHcy was measured by high-pressure liquid chromatography with fluorescent detection, blood folate and B12 levels immunochemically using commercial kits.

RESULTS: Beer intake was associated with blood folate and vitamin B12 concentrations positively and with tHcy concentration negatively. By categories of beer intake, subjects with intake of 1 l daily or more had significantly lower tHcy and higher folate concentrations than those reporting lower daily beer intake.

CONCLUSION: Moderate beer consumption may help to maintain the tHcy levels in the normal range due to high folate content. Folate from beer may thus contribute to the protective effect of alcohol consumption on cardiovascular disease in population with generally low folate intake from other nutrients.

Centre of Preventive Medicine, 2nd Department of Internal Medicine, Medical Faculty Charles University, Pilsen, Czech Republic. mayerjr@lfp.cuni.cz