An article published online on August 5, 2013 in the Journal of Affective Disorders reports an association between higher levels of plasma homocysteine and an increased risk of cognitive impairment in older adults.
How Can I Lower My Homocysteine Level?
Researchers from the University of Western Australia and Royal Perth Hospital recruited 358 individuals aged 50 and older with depressive symptoms, among whom 70% met the criteria for major depression. They analyzed fasting blood samples for total plasma homocysteine, serum vitamin B12 and red blood cell folate levels. Cognitive tests administered included the Mini-mental state examination and tests of verbal fluency, naming, word list immediate recall, word list delayed recall and drawing (visual) recall.
Seventy-one participants had high homocysteine levels, defined in this study as 13 micromoles per liter or more. In subjects with and without major depression, those with higher homocysteine levels had lower median folate and vitamin B12 levels.
“The results-sectional study show that in this sample of older adults, a high level of total homocysteine was in association with weaker performance in tests of immediate and creates a delay in memory and global cognitive performance when comparing those with normal total homocysteine,” authors Andrew H. Ford and his colleagues report.
What Is The Treatment For Homocysteine?
“The finding that high total homocysteine is in association with cognitive inefficiency in later life independent of depressive status has potential public health implications,” they note. “Homocysteine can be reliably on a lower scale by around by daily supplementation with vitamin B12 and folic acid (folate), making it a potential modifiable risk factor for cognitive impairment in older adults dealing with depression.”
“Homocysteine lowering B-vitamin supplementation may offer a potential therapeutic target to mitigate the often-disabling impact of cognitive deficits found in this population,” they conclude.