Results of 2-year vitamin B treatment on cognitive performance Secondary data from an RCT

NL van der Zwaluw, RAM Dhonukshe-Rutten, JP Wijngaarden, EM Brouwer-Brolsma, O van de Rest, PHI 't Veld, Anke Enneman, Suzanne Boon - van Dijk, Annelies Ham, KMA Swart, Nathalie van der Velde, NM Schoor, T.J.M. van der Cammen, André Uitterlinden, P Lips, RPC Kessels, LCPGM (Lisette) de Groot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: We investigated the effects of 2-year folic acid and vitamin B-12 supplementation on cognitive performance in elderly people with elevated homocysteine (Hcy) levels. Methods: This multicenter, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial included 2,919 elderly participants (65 years and older) with Hcy levels between 12 and 50 mu mol/L. Participants received daily either a tablet with 400 mu g folic acid and 500 mu g vitamin B-12 (B-vitamin group) or a placebo tablet. Both tablets contained 15 vitamin D-3. Data were available for global cognitive functioning assessed by Mini-Mental State Examination (n = 2,556), episodic memory (n = 2,467), attention and working memory (n = 759), information processing speed (n = 731), and executive function (n = 721). Results: Mean age was 74.1 (SD 6.5) years. Hcy concentrations decreased 5.0 (95% confidence interval -5.3 to -4.7) mu mol/L in the B-vitamin group and 1.3 (-1.6 to -0.9) mu mol/L in the placebo group. Cognitive domain scores did not differ over time between the 2 groups, as determined by analysis of covariance. Mini-Mental State Examination score decreased with 0.1 (-0.2 to 0.0) in the B-vitamin group and 0.3 (-0.4 to -0.2) in the placebo group (p = 0.05), as determined by an independent t test. Conclusions: Two-year folic acid and vitamin B-12 supplementation did not beneficially affect performance on 4 cognitive domains in elderly people with elevated Hcy levels. It may slightly slow the rate of decline of global cognition, but the reported small difference may be attributable to chance. Classification of evidence: This study provides Class I evidence that 2-year supplementation with folic acid and vitamin B-12 in hyperhomocysteinemic elderly people does not affect cognitive performance.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)2158-2166
Number of pages9
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Cite this