Effects of exercise and B vitamins on homocysteine and glutathione in Parkinson's disease: a randomized trial

Neurodegener Dis. 2012;10(1-4):127-34. doi: 10.1159/000333790. Epub 2012 Jan 17.


Background: Individuals with Parkinson's disease (PD) have decreased glutathione levels and elevated homocysteine levels. These substances are considered markers of health, and an inverse relationship has been suggested through the transsulfuration pathway. This experiment tested the effects of exercise and B vitamin supplementation on homocysteine and glutathione levels, and if a relationship was present between these two markers in those with PD. Secondary aims included examining the impact of the interventions on aerobic efficiency and strength.

Methods: Thirty-six subjects were randomly assigned to 4 groups. The Vit group received vitamins B(6), B(12) and folic acid daily for 6 weeks. The Ex group received aerobic and strength training twice weekly for 6 weeks. The Vit + Ex group received both interventions. A control group received no intervention. Subjects were tested prior to and after intervention on the following measures: glutathione and homocysteine levels, strength measures and oxygen consumption.

Results: Subjects who received 6 weeks of B vitamin supplementation had lowered homocysteine levels. Subjects who received 6 weeks of exercise training had increased glutathione levels, strength and aerobic capacity. The combination of vitamin and exercise did not yield greater changes than the separate intervention. The control subjects did not change on any measures.

Conclusion: Positive results were realized with each intervention; however, the expected relationship between glutathione and homocysteine was not found in this sample of subjects with PD. Homocysteine and glutathione levels can be improved independently in individuals with PD with exercise or vitamins B(6), B(12) and folic acid supplementation.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Glutathione / blood*
  • Glutathione Disulfide / blood
  • Homocysteine / blood*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinsonian Disorders* / blood
  • Parkinsonian Disorders* / diet therapy
  • Parkinsonian Disorders* / rehabilitation
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vitamin B Complex / therapeutic use*


  • Homocysteine
  • Vitamin B Complex
  • Glutathione
  • Glutathione Disulfide