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Plasma folate levels are associated with the lipoprotein profile: a retrospective database analysis

Alexander Semmler1, Susanna Moskau2, Andreas Grigull3, Susan Farmand1, Thomas Klockgether2, Yvo Smulders4, Henk Blom4, Bernd Zur3, Birgit Stoffel-Wagner3 and Michael Linnebank1*

Author Affiliations

1 University Zurich, Department of Neurology, Switzerland

2 University Bonn, Department of Neurology, Bonn, Germany

3 University Bonn, Department of Clinical Biochemistry and Pharmacology, Germany

4 VU University Medical Center, Department of Internal Medicine and Metabolic Unit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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Nutrition Journal 2010, 9:31  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-9-31

Published: 28 July 2010



Several studies demonstrated an association of homocysteine plasma levels and the plasma lipoprotein profile. This cross-sectional pilot study aimed at analyzing whether blood levels of the two important cofactors of homocysteine metabolism, folate and vitamin B12, coincide with the lipoprotein profile.


In a retrospective single center approach, we analyzed the laboratory database (2003-2006) of the University Hospital Bonn, Germany, including 1743 individuals, in whom vitamin B12, folate and at least one lipoprotein parameter had been determined by linear multilogistic regression.


Higher folate serum levels were associated with lower serum levels of low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C; Beta = -0.164; p < 0.001), higher levels of high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C; Beta = 0.094; p = 0.021 for trend) and a lower LDL-C-C/HDL-C-ratio (Beta = -0.210; p < 0.001). Using ANOVA, we additionally compared the individuals of the highest with those of the lowest quartile of folate. Individuals of the highest folate quartile had higher levels of HDL-C (1.42 ± 0.44 mmol/l vs. 1.26 ± 0.47 mmol/l; p = 0.005), lower levels of LDL-C (3.21 ± 1.04 mmol/l vs. 3.67 ± 1.10 mmol/l; p = 0.001) and a lower LDL-C/HDL-C- ratio (2.47 ± 1.18 vs. 3.77 ± 5.29; p = 0.002). Vitamin B12 was not associated with the lipoprotein profile.


In our study sample, high folate levels were associated with a favorable lipoprotein profile. A reconfirmation of these results in a different study population with a well defined status of health, diet and medication is warranted.