Vitamins and iron blood biomarkers are associated with blood pressure levels in European adolescents. The HELENA study

Augusto César Ferreira de Moraes, Luis Gracia-Marco, Iris Iglesia, Marcela González-Gross, Christina Breidenassel, Marika Ferrari, Dénes Molnar, Sonia Gómez-Martínez, Odysseas Androutsos, Anthony Kafatos, Magdalena Cuenca-García, Michael Sjöström, Frederic Gottrand, Kurt Widhalm, Heráclito Barbosa Carvalho, Luis A. Moreno

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Previous research showed that low concentration of biomarkers in the blood during adolescence (i.e., iron status; retinol; and vitamins B6, B12, C, and D) may be involved in the early stages of development of many chronic diseases, such as hypertension. The aim was to evaluate if iron biomarkers and vitamins in the blood are associated with blood pressure in European adolescents. Methods: Participants from the Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence cross-sectional study (N=1089; 12.5-17.5y; 580 girls) were selected by complex sampling. Multilevel linear regression models examined the associations between iron biomarkers and vitamins in the blood and blood pressure; the analyses were stratified by sex and adjusted for contextual and individual potential confounders. Results: A positive association was found in girls between RBC folate concentration and systolic blood pressure (SBP) (β=3.19; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.61-5.77), although no association between the vitamin serum biomarkers concentrations and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) was found. In boys, retinol was positively associated with DBP (β=3.84; 95% CI, 0.51-7.17) and vitamin B6 was positively associated with SBP (β=3.82; 95% CI, 1.46-6.18). In contrast, holotranscobalamin was inversely associated with SBP (β=-3.74; 95% CI, -7.28 to -0.21). Conclusions: Levels of RBC folate and vitamin B6 in blood may affect BP in adolescents. In this context, programs aimed at avoiding high BP levels should promote healthy eating behavior by focusing on the promotion of vegetable proteins and foods rich in vitamin B12 (i.e., white meat and eggs), which may help to achieve BP blood control in adolescents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1294-1300
Number of pages7
Issue number11-12
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2014



  • Adolescents
  • Blood pressure
  • Iron
  • Multicenter study
  • Vitamins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

Cite this

de Moraes, A. C. F., Gracia-Marco, L., Iglesia, I., González-Gross, M., Breidenassel, C., Ferrari, M., Molnar, D., Gómez-Martínez, S., Androutsos, O., Kafatos, A., Cuenca-García, M., Sjöström, M., Gottrand, F., Widhalm, K., Carvalho, H. B., & Moreno, L. A. (2014). Vitamins and iron blood biomarkers are associated with blood pressure levels in European adolescents. The HELENA study. Nutrition, 30(11-12), 1294-1300.