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Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 Mar;69(3):467-75.

Association of dietary protein intake and coffee consumption with serum homocysteine concentrations in an older population.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA. RS221Z@NIH.GOV



Elevated blood concentrations of total homocysteine (tHcy) have been implicated in the pathogenesis of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Previous studies identified suboptimal nutritional status and dietary intake of folate, vitamin B-6, and vitamin B-12 as determinants of elevated tHcy.


We identified other nutritional factors associated with tHcy in 260 retired schoolteachers in the Baltimore metropolitan area.


We performed observational analyses of baseline and 2-4-mo follow-up data collected in a study designed to test the feasibility of conducting a large-scale clinical trial of vitamin supplements by mail. The study population consisted of 151 women and 109 men with a median age of 64 y. At baseline, each participant completed a food-frequency questionnaire. At follow-up, fasting serum tHcy was measured.


In multivariable linear regression and generalized linear models, there was an independent, inverse dose-response relation between dietary protein and In tHcy (P = 0.002) and a positive, significant dose-response relation between coffee consumption and In tHcy (P for trend = 0.01). Other significant predictors of In tHcy were creatinine (positive; P = 0.0001) and prestudy use of supplemental B vitamins (inverse; P = 0.03). In stratified analyses restricted to persons receiving standard multivitamin therapy, the association of 1n tHcy with dietary protein and coffee persisted.


These results support the hypothesis that increased protein intake and decreased coffee consumption may reduce tHcy and potentially prevent atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and other disease outcomes.

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