BACKGROUND: In western populations, a higher level of dietary B vitamins intake has been associated with a lower risk of hypertension. However, data in Chinese is limited, whose B vitamins consumption is low and rates of hypertension are high. AIM OF THE STUDY: To investigate whether the three B vitamins are associated with hypertension in rural Chinese. METHODS: Cross-sectional survey among 2241 rural Chinese aged 18-80 years was conducted in northwestern China in 2010. Blood pressure was measured by trained medical staff and dietary nutrients were assessed with a semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire. RESULTS: 592 cases of hypertension were newly diagnosed. The deficiency proportions were 20.5% for vitamin B-6, 43.9% for folate and 98.5% for B-12. For females, participants in the highest quartile of B-6 intake had a significantly lower risk of hypertension (OR = 0.69; 95% CI: 0.50-0.93; p for trend <0.05). For males, the multivariable OR for the same comparison was 0.75 (95% CI: 0.56-0.99, p for trend >0.05). No significant associations were observed between B-12, folate intake and hypertension. For females, the highest quartile of both folate and B-6 intake was associated with a reduced risk of hypertension (OR = 0.53; 95% CI: 0.29-0.89), compared with in the middle quartile of both vitamins. CONCLUSIONS: Higher intake of vitamin B-6 is independently associated with lower risk of hypertension in Chinese rural adults. Among females with high folate intake, the association between B-6 and hypertension was strongest. Additional studies are warrant to establish the causal inference.
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