Hyperhomocysteinemia has been repeatedly found to increase the risk of dementia. However, the effects of hypohomocysteinemia on the risk of dementia have been barely investigated. If hypohomocysteinemia, like hyperhomocysteinemia, increases the risk of dementia, misuse or overuse of homocysteine-lowing agents such as vitamin supplements may increase the risk of dementia.
To investigate whether hypohomocysteinemia, like hyperhomocysteinemia, could increase the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in a large population-based cohort of older adults.
This prospective cohort study followed 2655 randomly sampled, community-dwelling, non-demented individuals aged 60 years or older from 2010 to 2018. We measured baseline serum total homocysteine (tHcy) levels and examined the effect of serum tHcy on the risks of dementia and AD using Cox proportional hazards models.
During the follow-up period (mean = 5.4 years, SD = 0.9), dementia and AD developed in 85 and 64 participants, respectively. Not only the participants with high serum tHcy (≥10.6 μmol/L) but also those with low serum tHcy (≤8.9 μmol/L) were 4-5 times more likely to develop dementia and AD compared to those with serum tHcy levels between 9.0 and 10.5 μmol/L. With the increase in serum tHcy concentration, the use of vitamin supplements decreased, and 41.2% of the participants with low serum tHcy (≤8.9 μmol/L) were taking vitamin supplements.
Not only hyperhomocysteinemia but also hypohomocysteinemia considerably increased the risk of dementia and AD in older adults. The risk of dementia that results from overuse or misuse of vitamin supplements should be acknowledged and homocysteine-lowering health policies should be tailored to consider dementia risks that are associated with hypohomocysteinemia.

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