Elevated homocysteine levels are associated with low muscle strength and functional limitations in older persons

J Nutr Health Aging. 2013;17(6):578-84. doi: 10.1007/s12603-013-0047-2.


Objective: The current study aimed to examine homocysteine in relation to different aspects of physical functioning.

Design, setting and participants: Cross-sectional and longitudinal data (3-years follow-up) from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA) were used. The study was performed in persons aged ≥ 65 years (N= 1301 after imputation).

Measurements: Different measures of physical functioning, including muscle mass, grip strength, functional limitations, and falling were regarded as outcomes. Gender and serum creatinine level were investigated as effect modifiers.

Results: Results were stratified by gender. In men, higher homocysteine levels were associated with lower grip strength (Quartile 4: regression coefficient (B)= -3.07 (-4.91; -1.22)), and more functional limitations at baseline (Quartile 4: B= 1.15 (0.16-2.14)). In women, higher homocysteine levels were associated with more functional limitations after 3 years (Quartile 4: B= 1.19 (0.25; 2.13)). Higher homocysteine levels were not associated with low muscle mass or falling.

Conclusions: These data suggest an inverse association of homocysteine levels with functional limitations in older men and women, and with muscle strength in older men.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hand Strength / physiology
  • Homocysteine / blood*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Walking


  • Homocysteine
  • Creatinine