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N.A. Cunha, M.B. Noronha, S.F. Abrunhosa, A.N. Rocha, T.F. Amaral

J Aging Res Clin Practice 2012;1(3):230-234

Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of non-alcoholic beer (NAB) and non alcoholic beer with a high content of folic acid (NAB-FA) in reducing hyperhomocysteinemia amongst older adults. Design: Quasi-experimental study. Setting: Care homes for older adults. Participants: Forty older adults aged 72 to 96 years (mean=83), with high serum homocysteine (Hcy) levels, >11µmol/L in women and >12μmol/L in men. Intervention: Those who reported liking NAB were randomly assigned to drinking 500 ml/day of NAB (n=8) or NAB-FA (43.7μg of folic acid/100 mL) (n=9). Those who reported not liking NAB were allocated to the control group (n=23), 500ml/day of water. Measurements: Serum levels of Hcy, folic acid and cobalamin evaluated at baseline and after the intervention. Results: A higher reduction in Hcy levels was observer after beer (NAB and NAB-FA) than after water ingestion (3.2µmol/L, interquartile range (IQR)=3.2µmol/L, p<0.001 compared with 0.9µmol/L, IQR=1.5µmol/L, p<0.001). Compared to the water ingestion, this reduction in Hcy levels was higher after NAB-FA intake (3.55µmol/L, IQR=2.1µmol/L, p=0.011) than after NAB (2.45µmol/L, IQR=6.3µmol/L; p=0.132). Conclusion: Three week intake of non-alcoholic beer significantly decreased Hcy levels in older adults with advanced age. When folic acid was integrated into NAB, a considerably lower dose of folic acid was necessary in order to reduce Hcy plasma levels than previously described for that purpose.

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