Biomarkers of vitamin B-12 status in NHANES: A roundtable summary

Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892-7517, USA.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Impact Factor: 6.77). 07/2011; 94(1):313S-321S. DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.111.013243
Source: PubMed


A roundtable to discuss the measurement of vitamin B-12 (cobalamin) status biomarkers in NHANES took place in July 2010. NHANES stopped measuring vitamin B-12-related biomarkers after 2006. The roundtable reviewed 3 biomarkers of vitamin B-12 status used in past NHANES--serum vitamin B-12, methylmalonic acid (MMA), and total homocysteine (tHcy)--and discussed the potential utility of measuring holotranscobalamin (holoTC) for future NHANES. The roundtable focused on public health considerations and the quality of the measurement procedures and reference methods and materials that past NHANES used or that are available for future NHANES. Roundtable members supported reinstating vitamin B-12 status measures in NHANES. They noted evolving concerns and uncertainties regarding whether subclinical (mild, asymptomatic) vitamin B-12 deficiency is a public health concern. They identified the need for evidence from clinical trials to address causal relations between subclinical vitamin B-12 deficiency and adverse health outcomes as well as appropriate cutoffs for interpreting vitamin B-12-related biomarkers. They agreed that problems with sensitivity and specificity of individual biomarkers underscore the need for including at least one biomarker of circulating vitamin B-12 (serum vitamin B-12 or holoTC) and one functional biomarker (MMA or tHcy) in NHANES. The inclusion of both serum vitamin B-12 and plasma MMA, which have been associated with cognitive dysfunction and anemia in NHANES and in other population-based studies, was preferable to provide continuity with past NHANES. Reliable measurement procedures are available, and National Institute of Standards and Technology reference materials are available or in development for serum vitamin B-12 and MMA.

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Available from: Barry Shane, Oct 07, 2015
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    • "Alternatively, a measurement procedure may be precise but inaccurate due to lack of trueness (ie, the procedure is biased). As an example mentioned in this conference, the Bio-Rad Quanta Phase II procedure for serum and red blood cell folate (Bio-Rad, Hercules, CA) was found to have acceptable precision but substantial negative bias compared with the microbiological assay (1). "
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    ABSTRACT: Population studies such as NHANES analyze large numbers of laboratory measurements and are often performed in different laboratories using different measurement procedures and over an extended period of time. Correct clinical and epidemiologic interpretations of the results depend on the accuracy of those measurements. Unfortunately, considerable variability has been observed among assays for folate, vitamin B-12, and related biomarkers. In the past few decades, the science of metrology has advanced considerably, with the development of improved primary reference measurement procedures and high-level reference materials, which can serve as the basis for accurate measurement. A rigorous approach has been established for making field methods traceable to the highest-level reference measurement procedures and reference materials. This article reviews some basic principles of metrology and describes their recent application to measurements of folate and vitamin B-12.
    American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 07/2011; 94(1):332S-336S. DOI:10.3945/ajcn.111.013359 · 6.77 Impact Factor
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    American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 06/2011; 94(2):552-61. DOI:10.3945/ajcn.111.015222 · 6.77 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A roundtable dialogue to discuss "NHANES Monitoring of Biomarkers of Folate and Vitamin B-12 Status" took place in July 2010. This article provides an overview of the meeting and this supplement issue. Although the focus of the roundtable dialogue was on the measurement of folate and vitamin B-12 status biomarkers in NHANES, this article also describes the relevance and importance of these issues for clinical and research laboratories. The roundtable identified the microbiological assay (MA) as the gold standard for measurement of serum and red blood cell folate concentrations. The roundtable noted that differences in results between the Bio-Rad Quantaphase II procedure (Bio-Rad Laboratories, Hercules, CA) that NHANES 1991-1994 and 1999-2006 used and the MA that NHANES 2007-2010 used will require adjustment equations to evaluate time trends. The roundtable found that the close agreement between the serum results for the MA and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) procedures supported the conversion to LC-MS/MS for serum folate in future NHANES. The roundtable recognized the uncertainty about whether subclinical vitamin B-12 deficiency is a public health concern but encouraged reinstatement of at least one circulating vitamin B-12 measure and one functional vitamin B-12 status measure in future NHANES. The use of serum vitamin B-12 and plasma methylmalonic acid would provide continuity with past NHANES. The roundtable supported the continued use of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) reference materials in NHANES biomarker analyses and the further development of additional reference materials by the NIST.
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