betaine, homocysteine and cognitive function in the elderly

One-carbon metabolites choline and homocysteine.are important for brain function. The relationship between the one-carbon metabolites choline. betaine. methionine and dimethylglycinc with cognition in elderly has been looked at by Simone et al in a population of elderly Dutch people as a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.
Individuals (n 195) were randomized to receive daily oral capsules with either 1000ug cobalamin (vitamin B12), or 1000ug cobalamin and 400 ug folic acid, or placebo for 24 weeks. Concentrations of homocysteine, methionine, choline, betaine and dimethylglycinc were assessed before and after 12 and 24 weeks of treatment. Cognitive function, including attention, construction, sensomotor speed, memory and executive function, was assessed before and after 24 weeks of treatment.
At baseline, elevated plasma homocysteine was associated with lower performance of attention, construction, sensomotor speed and executive function. In addition, betaine was positively associated with better performance of construction, sensomotor speed and executive function, whereas elevated concentrations of methionine were positively associated with sensomotor speed.
Daily combined supplementation with cobalamin plus folic acid decreased total homocysteine concentrations by 36%. and increased betaine concentrations by 38%. Participants with the largest increases in betaine concentrations showed a borderline significant (P=0-07) higher memory performance compared to those without it.
Although this trial observed associations of homocysteine and betaine with cognitive domains prior to supplementation, decreased concentrations of homocysteine were not related to improved cognitive performance. There was a tendency of participants with the largest increases in betaine concentrations to show the greatest improvement in memory function.
In short a brave, very detailed attempt but no rewards to any one.
Simone et al (2007) The association of betaine, homocysteine and related metabolites with cognitive function in Dutch elderly people British Journal of Nutrition 98, 960-968

Martin Eastwood
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