Relation between homocysteine concentrations and the consumption of different types of alcoholic beverages: The French Supplementation with Antioxidant Vitamins and Minerals Study
Background: Previous studies on the effects of alcohol consumption on total plasma homocysteine (tHcy) concentrations showed contradictory results. The conflicting results may derive in part from confounding by the type of alcoholic beverage consumed. Objective: The objective of the study was to evaluate in a predominantly wine-drinking French population whether the relation between alcohol consumption and homocysteine concentrations is dependent on the type of alcoholic beverage consumed. Design: In 1996, a cross-sectional study measuring tHcy and red blood cell folate concentrations was conducted in 1196 middle-aged women and men from the French Supplementation with Antioxidant Vitamins and Minerals Study. Intakes of alcohol, energy, coffee, and B vitamins were assessed by 6 separate 24-h dietary records from the previous year. Results: tHcy concentrations were positively associated with wine intake (P = 0.01) in the women and with beer intake in the men (P = 0.002). No association with the consumption of spirits was observed. The association between beer consumption and tHcy concentrations in the men was modified by the consumption of wine; the association was positive in wine drinkers, whereas an inverse trend was seen in those who drank no wine. Conclusion: Wine consumption may increase tHcy concentrations, whereas beer consumption seems to have no effect (or even an inverse effect) on tHcy.