Vitamins B6 and B12 and Folic Acid

These vitamins are crucial for homocysteine metabolism into methionine, the latter being needed to synthesize nucleotides.

Proper levels of these vitamins are required to help reduce blood homocysteine content. A great quantity of homocysteine is related to a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases (Tsai, 2000), ictus, and neurologic problems (Alzheimer's, depression, cognitive disabilities) (Kim, 2008; Reynolds, 2006).

Although recent studies have explored associations between folate intakes and cancer, results are still inconsistent and don't allow a complete evaluation of the relationship between blood folate concentrations and cancer risk (EFSA, 2009; Hughes, 2013).

Folate fortification is done with folic acid, a stable form that the organism will convert into a biologically active one. The food industry has recently launched Metafolin® (L-5-mehyltetrahydrofolic acid, calcium salt, DSM), which mainly contains an active bioavailable form of folate, permitting a proper folic acid intake by individuals unable to convert folic acid into folate. Vitamin B12 is essential for the normal formation of red blood cells, for a correct fat and carbohydrate metabolism, and for folate regeneration. Poor vitamin B12 intakes may affect vegans and the elderly, as well as individuals with pernicious anemia. Incorrect hematologic parameters and neurologic disorders, such as memory loss and leg weakness, are symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency. Some interesting studies and clinical trials have related the use of B6 and B12 vitamins and folic acid to a delay in cognitive decline (Smith, 2010).

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