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J Med Assoc Thai. 2006 Aug;89(8):1187-93.

Effect of short-term folate and vitamin B supplementation on blood homocysteine level and carotid artery wall thickness in chronic hemodialysis patients.

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  • 1Renal Division, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand.



Hyperhomocysteinemia is an independent risk factor for atherosclerotic vascular disease in chronic hemodialysis patients. This stratified randomized controlled trial was designed to measure the effect of high dose oral vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and folic acid on homocysteine levels, and to evaluate the effect on atherosclerosis as measured by Intima-Media Thickness (IMT) of carotid arteries.


Fifty-four chronic hemodialysis patients with hyperhomocysteinemia were randomized to receive oral 15 mg folic acid, 50 mg vitamin B6, and 1 mg vitamin B12 daily (treatment group) or oral 5 mg folic acid alone (control group) for 6 months. Homocysteine level and IMT were measured in both groups.


At 6 months, homocysteine levels in the treatment group were significantly reduced from 27.94 +/- 8.54 to 22.71 +/- 3.68 mmol/l (p = 0.009) and were not significantly increased from 26.81 +/- 7.10 to 30.82 +/- 8.76 mmol/l in control group (p = 0.08). Mean difference between both groups was statistically significant (p = 0.002). There was no significant difference of IMT of carotid arteries, however, a tendency that the treatment group would have less thickness was observed (0.69 +/- 0.29 mm and 0.62 +/- 0.16 mm, p = 0.99).


Treatment of hyperhomocysteinemia in chronic hemodialysis patients with daily oral 15 mg folic acid, 50 mg vitamin B6, and 1 mg vitamin B12 for 6 months decreases homocysteine levels and tends to reduce IMT of carotid arteries. A long term study for the prevention of atherosclerosis is warranted.

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