Introduction: Hyperhomocysteinemia is an important cardiovascular risk indicator in the oldest old, and is associated with elevated arterial stiffness in this age group. Since several intervention trials reported a lack of benefit of B-vitamin supplementation on cardiovascular outcomes, we aimed to investigate the effect of B-vitamin supplementation on arterial stiffness and atherosclerosis in hyperhomocysteinemic elderly patients. Methods: The B-PROOF study is a double-blind, randomized controlled trial, including 2919 elderly aged at least 65 years, with hyperhomocysteinemia (12-50 mmol/l), treated with B-vitamins (500 mg vitamin B12 and 400 mg folic acid) or placebo for 2 years. In a subgroup (n=569), the effect of B-vitamins on pulse wave velocity (PWV) was investigated as a measurement of arterial stiffness. To measure atherosclerosis, carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) measures had been used. Incidents of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events were determined via structured questionnaires, and blood pressure was also measured. Results: Compared to placebo, B-vitamin supplementation lowered serum homocysteine by 3.6 mmol/l (P<0.001). Analysis of covariance showed no effect of supplementation on PWV levels, and this was not different for patients without increased arterial stiffness at baseline. Furthermore, no effect on carotid IMT was observed. Discussion: Vitamin B12 and folic acid supplementation in hyperhomocysteinemic elderly patients have no effect on PWV or carotid IMT. Further research will still be necessary to unravel the effects and pathways of homocysteine-lowering treatment on cardiovascular outcomes.

, , , , ,,
Journal of Hypertension
Department of Internal Medicine

van Dijk, S., Enneman, A., Swart, K., van Wijngaarden, J., Ham, A., Brouwer-Brolsma, E., … van der Velde, N. (2015). Effects of 2-year vitamin B12 and folic acid supplementation in hyperhomocysteinemic elderly on arterial stiffness and cardiovascular outcomes within the B-PROOF trial. Journal of Hypertension, 33(9), 1897–1906. doi:10.1097/HJH.0000000000000647