A Randomized Controlled Trial to Examine the Effect of 2-Year Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid Supplementation on Physical Performance, Strength, and Falling: Additional Findings from the B-PROOF Study

KMA Swart, Annelies Ham, JP Wijngaarden, Anke Enneman, Suzanne Boon - van Dijk, E Sohl, EM Brouwer-Brolsma, NL van der Zwaluw, M.C. Zillikens, RAM Dhonukshe-Rutten, Nathalie van der Velde, J Brug, André Uitterlinden, LCPGM (Lisette) de Groot, P Lips, NM Schoor

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Elevated homocysteine concentrations are associated with a decline in physical function in elderly persons. Homocysteine-lowering therapy may slow down this decline. This study aimed to examine the effect of a 2-year intervention of vitamin B12 and folic acid supplementation on physical performance, handgrip strength, and risk of falling in elderly subjects in a double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled trial. Participants aged a parts per thousand yen65 years with elevated plasma homocysteine concentrations [12-50 A mu mol/L (n = 2919)] were randomly assigned to daily supplementation of 500 A mu g vitamin B12, 400 A mu g folic acid, and 600 IU vitamin D3, or to placebo with 600 IU vitamin D3. Physical performance (range 0-12) and handgrip strength (kg) were measured at baseline and after 2 years. Falls were reported prospectively on a research calendar. Intention-to-treat (primary) and per-protocol (secondary) analyses were performed. Physical performance level and handgrip strength significantly decreased during the follow-up period, but this decline did not differ between groups. Moreover, time to first fall was not significantly different (HR: 1.0, 95 % CI 0.9-1.2). Secondary analyses on a per-protocol base identified an interaction effect with age on physical performance. In addition, the treatment was associated with higher follow-up scores on the walking test (cumulative OR: 1.3, 95 % CI 1.1-1.5). Two-year supplementation of vitamin B12 and folic acid was neither effective in reducing the age-related decline in physical performance and handgrip strength, nor in the prevention of falling in elderly persons. Despite the overall null-effect, the results provide indications for a positive effect of the intervention on gait, as well as on physical performance among compliant persons > 80 years. These effects should be further tested in future studies.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)18-27
Number of pages10
JournalCalcified Tissue International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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