Biological variability and impact of oral contraceptives on vitamins B6, B12 and folate status in women of reproductive age

Jennifer O. McArthur, HoMan Tang, Peter Petocz, Samir Samman*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    9 Citations (Scopus)
    35 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    Vitamins B6, B12 and folate play crucial metabolic roles especially during the reproductive years for women. There is limited reporting of within-subject variability of these vitamins. This study aimed to determine the within and between subject variability in serum vitamins B6, B12, folate and erythrocyte folate concentrations in young women; identify factors that contribute to variability; and determine dietary intakes and sources of these vitamins. Data were obtained from the control group of a trial aimed at investigating the effect of iron on the nutritional status of young women (age 25.2 ± 4.2 year; BMI 21.9 ± 2.2 kg/m2). The coefficients of variability within-subject (CVI) and between-subject (CVG) for serum vitamins B6, B12 and folate, and erythrocyte folate were calculated. Food frequency questionnaires provided dietary data. CVI and CVG were in the range 16.1%-25.7% and 31.7%-62.2%, respectively. Oral contraceptive pill (OCP) use was associated (P = 0.042) with lower serum vitamin B12 concentrations. Initial values were 172 ± 16 pmol/L and 318 ± 51 pmol/L for OCP and non-OCP users, respectively; with differences maintained at four time points over 12 weeks. BMI, age, physical activity, alcohol intake and haematological variables did not affect serum or erythrocyte vitamin concentrations. Vitamin B12 intakes were derived from traditional and unexpected sources including commercial energy drinks. Young women using OCP had significantly lower serum vitamin B12 concentrations. This should be considered in clinical decision making and requires further investigation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3634-3645
    Number of pages12
    JournalNutrients
    Volume5
    Issue number9
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 16 Sep 2013

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright the Author(s) 2013. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

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