Relationship between Homocysteine and Muscle Strength Decline: The Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging

Michelle L. Vidoni, Kelley Pettee Gabriel, Sheng T. Luo, Eleanor M. Simonsick, R. Sue Day

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Decreased muscle strength is strongly associated with future mobility limitations in older adults. Homocysteine is a risk factor for vascular disease and may exacerbate muscle strength decline. The present study aimed to examine the association between homocysteine levels and muscle strength in adults aged 50 years or older. Methods Data were from 1,101 participants of The Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging between December 2004 and March 2015. Muscle strength was measured using grip strength. Mixed effects linear regression was used to estimate the association between homocysteine and muscle strength in men and women, separately. Results Total mean follow-up time was 4.7 ± 3.1 years, range from 0 to 10.1 years. Baseline mean grip strength was 39.9 kg for men and 25.5 kg for women. Grip strength declined over the follow-up time for both men and women. Among women, there was a significant inverse relationship between homocysteine and grip strength, where grip strength declined as a function of increasing homocysteine over time (β = -0.05, p =.031). Among men, an increase of 1 μmol/L in homocysteine was associated with -0.10 kg decrease in grip strength, though not significantly. Conclusions In this study of healthy older adults aged 50 years or older, higher homocysteine was related to lower muscle strength in women. This is the first study to characterize the relationship over a long follow-up period. Future research should focus on assessing homocysteine as a marker of physical function decline and translating the relationship into clinical and public health practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)546-551
Number of pages6
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 14 2018


  • Longitudinal
  • Muscle
  • Physical function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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