Vitamin B12, Folate and Homocysteine Levels inTobacco Smokers and Passive Smokers

Duangkamol Viroonudomphol, Talabporn Harnroongroj, Siriwan Tribanyatkul, Saowanee Kajanachumpol

Abstract


Diseases risk due to smoking is not restricted to only active smokers but also passive smokers, those exposed to environmental tobacco smoke. Both types of smoking are associated with health effects and increase the risk of several diseases. They are linked with decreased serum vitamin B12, and  folate levels, but are associated with increased homocysteine and also an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.  We studied the effects of tobacco smoking on serum vitamin B12, folate and homocysteine parameters in healthy Thai smokers, passive smokers, and non-smokers. Investigations were made on 200 males who participated voluntarily in the study from April to September 2009. These comprised 50 each of male smokers and passive smokers from a military unit of Phramongkutklao Hospital in Bangkok, and 50 male, self local handmade tobacco smokers from a village in Phitsanulok. Additional 50 male non-smokers from the same unit were selected as controls. Fasting blood samples were collected for determination  of vitamin B12, folate and homocysteine variables. The results showed that the serum vitamin B12 of smokers were significantly higher than those of non-smokers but folate concentration of smokers were significantly lower than those of non-smokers while the homocysteine levels were significantly higher than those in non-smokers. For more detail of each smoking group the industrial tobacco smokers had serum vitamin B 12 lower than those in non-smokers whereas passive smokers and local handmade tobacco smokers had serum vitamin B 12 higher than those in non-smokers. For serum folate levels all groups of smokers (industrial smokers, passive smokers and local handmade tobacco smokers) had folate levels significantly lower than those in non-smokers. Serum homocysteine levels were significantly higher in the industrial tobacco smokers and passive smokers than in non-smokers but in the local handmade tobacco smokers serum homocysteine levels were non-significantly lower than those in non-smokers. In conclusion, the results of this study suggested that there were low serum vitamin B12 and folate concentrations with high levels of homocysteine in the industrial tobacco smokers compared with those in non-smokers, which might contribute to the development of vascular and cardiovascular diseases especially in the industrial tobacco smokers. 


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