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Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 May;79(5):805-11.

Breakfast cereal fortified with folic acid, vitamin B-6, and vitamin B-12 increases vitamin concentrations and reduces homocysteine concentrations: a randomized trial.

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  • 1Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, 711 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111, USA.



High homocysteine and low B vitamin concentrations have been linked to the risk of vascular disease, stroke, and dementia and are relatively common in older adults.


We assessed the effect of breakfast cereal fortified with folic acid, vitamin B-6, and vitamin B-12 on vitamin and homocysteine status.


A randomized, double-blind trial was conducted in 189 volunteers aged 50-85 y. The subjects had no history of hypertension, anemia, asthma, cancer, or cardiovascular or digestive disease and did not regularly consume multiple or B vitamin supplements or highly fortified breakfast cereal. Subjects were randomly assigned to consume 1 cup (0.24 L) breakfast cereal fortified with 440 microg folic acid, 1.8 mg vitamin B-6, and 4.8 microg vitamin B-12 or placebo cereal for 12 wk. Blood was drawn at 0, 2, 12, and 14 wk. Methionine-loading tests were conducted at baseline and week 14.


Final baseline-adjusted plasma homocysteine concentrations were significantly lower and B vitamin concentrations were significantly higher in the treatment group than in the placebo group (P < 0.001). The percentage of subjects with plasma folate concentrations < 11 nmol/L decreased from 2% to 0%, with vitamin B-12 concentrations < 185 pmol/L from 9% to 3%, with vitamin B-6 concentrations < 20 nmol/L from 6% to 2%, and with homocysteine concentrations > 10.4 micromol/L (women) or > 11.4 micromol/L (men) from 6.4% to 1.6%. The percentage of control subjects with values beyond these cutoff points remained nearly constant or increased.


In this relatively healthy group of volunteers, consumption of 1 cup fortified breakfast cereal daily significantly increased B vitamin and decreased homocysteine concentrations, including post-methionine-load homocysteine concentrations.

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