Lowering elevated plasma homocysteine (Hcy) concentrations by supplementing vitamin B12 and folic acid may reduce depressive symptoms and improve health-related quality of life (HR-QoL) in older adults. This study aimed to test this hypothesis in a randomized controlled trial. Participants (N = 2919, ≥65 years, Hcy concentrations ≥12 µmol/L) received either 500 µg vitamin B12 and 400 µg folic acid daily or placebo for two years. Both tablets contained 15 µg vitamin D3. Depressive symptoms were measured with the Geriatric Depression Scale-15 (GDS-15). HR-QoL was assessed with the SF-12 Mental and Physical component summary scores and the EQ-5D Index score and Visual Analogue Scale. Differences in two-year change scores were analyzed with Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA). Hcy concentrations decreased more in the intervention group, but two-year change scores of the GDS-15 and three of four HR-QoL measures did not differ between groups. The EQ-5D Index score declined less in the intervention group than in the placebo group (mean change 0.00 vs. −0.02, p = 0.004). In conclusion, two-year supplementation with vitamin B12 and folic acid in older adults with hyperhomocysteinemia showed that lowering Hcy concentrations does not reduce depressive symptoms, but it may have a small positive effect on HR-QoL.

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doi.org/10.3390/nu8110748, hdl.handle.net/1765/94408
Department of Internal Medicine

de Koning, E.J. (Elisa J.), van der Zwaluw, N., van Wijngaarden, J., Sohl, E., Brouwer-Brolsma, E., van Marwijk, H., … de Groot, L. (2016). Effects of two-year vitamin B12 and folic acid supplementation on depressive symptoms and quality of life in older adults with elevated homocysteine concentrations: Additional results from the B-Proof study, an RCT. Nutrients, 8(11). doi:10.3390/nu8110748