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Folate and vitamin B12 concentrations are associated with plasma DHA and EPA fatty acids in European adolescents: the Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence (HELENA) study

  • I. Iglesia (a1) (a2), I. Huybrechts (a3) (a4), M. González-Gross (a5) (a6), T. Mouratidou (a1), J. Santabárbara (a7), V. Chajès (a4), E. M. González-Gil (a1) (a6), J. Y. Park (a4), S. Bel-Serrat (a1), M. Cuenca-García (a8) (a9), M. Castillo (a8), M. Kersting (a10), K. Widhalm (a11), S. De Henauw (a3), M. Sjöström (a12) (a13) (a14), F. Gottrand (a15), D. Molnár (a16), Y. Manios (a17), A. Kafatos (a18), M. Ferrari (a19), P. Stehle (a20), A. Marcos (a21), F. J. Sánchez-Muniz (a22) and L. A. Moreno (a1) (a2) (a6)...


This study aimed to examine the association between vitamin B6, folate and vitamin B12 biomarkers and plasma fatty acids in European adolescents. A subsample from the Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence study with valid data on B-vitamins and fatty acid blood parameters, and all the other covariates used in the analyses such as BMI, Diet Quality Index, education of the mother and physical activity assessed by a questionnaire, was selected resulting in 674 cases (43 % males). B-vitamin biomarkers were measured by chromatography and immunoassay and fatty acids by enzymatic analyses. Linear mixed models elucidated the association between B-vitamins and fatty acid blood parameters (changes in fatty acid profiles according to change in 10 units of vitamin B biomarkers). DHA, EPA) and n-3 fatty acids showed positive associations with B-vitamin biomarkers, mainly with those corresponding to folate and vitamin B12. Contrarily, negative associations were found with n-6:n-3 ratio, trans-fatty acids and oleic:stearic ratio. With total homocysteine (tHcy), all the associations found with these parameters were opposite (for instance, an increase of 10 nmol/l in red blood cell folate or holotranscobalamin in females produces an increase of 15·85 µmol/l of EPA (P value <0·01), whereas an increase of 10 nmol/l of tHcy in males produces a decrease of 2·06 µmol/l of DHA (P value <0·05). Positive associations between B-vitamins and specific fatty acids might suggest underlying mechanisms between B-vitamins and CVD and it is worth the attention of public health policies.

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Corresponding author

* Corresponding author: I. Iglesia, email


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See online Supplementary material for the HELENA study group members.



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