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Alcohol Alcohol. 2012 Sep-Oct;47(5):497-500. doi: 10.1093/alcalc/ags058. Epub 2012 May 29.

Alterations of homocysteine serum levels during alcohol withdrawal are influenced by folate and riboflavin: results from the German Investigation on Neurobiology in Alcoholism (GINA).

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Department of Addiction and Psychotherapy, LVR-Clinic Bonn, Bonn, Germany.



Various studies have shown that plasma homocysteine (HCY) serum levels are elevated in actively drinking alcohol-dependent patients a during alcohol withdrawal, while rapidly declining during abstinence. Hyperhomocysteinemia has been associated not only with blood alcohol concentration (BAC), but also with deficiency of different B-vitamins, particularly folate, pyridoxine and cobalamin.


Our study included 168 inpatients (110 men, 58 women) after admission for detoxification treatment. BAC, folate, cobalamin, pyridoxine, thiamine and riboflavin were obtained on admission (Day 1). HCY was assessed on Days 1, 7 and 11.


HCY levels significantly declined during withdrawal. General linear models and linear regression analysis showed an influence of BAC, folate and riboflavin on the HCY levels on admission as well as on HCY changes occurring during alcohol withdrawal. No significant influence was found for thiamine, cobalamin and pyridoxine.


These findings show that not only BAC and plasma folate levels, but also plasma levels of riboflavin influence HCY plasma levels in alcohol-dependent patients.

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