|Background: In the past 37 years, increased efforts have been directed toward a better understanding of the importance of Hcy in disease and it has now become clear that hyperhomocysteinemia is a major independent risk factor for CVD. Extensive research on the influence of vitamin supplementation leading to reductions in Hcy levels and improvements in cardiovascular function has been done. The importance of exercise in the lowering of cardiovascular risk factors, as well as its favourable influence on cardiovascular function has also been indicated in several studies, however, the limited number of studies investigating the effect of exercise on Hcy concentrations revealed contradicting results. Furthermore, a relationship between Hcy concentration and cardiovascular function with the intervention of an exercise training and a vitamin supplementation programme respectively has also not been investigated. Objective: The objective of this study was to examine the effect of a 12-week exercise training and a 12-week vitamin supplementation intervention respectively on tHcy concentrations and cardiovascular function, and whether the change in tHcy concentration within the different interventions correlated with the change in cardiovascular function. Methods: In a randomised controlled cross-over intervention study, 52 men matched for age, cardiorespiratory
fitness levels and cardiovascular risk factors were randomly assigned to one of 3 groups (Group A = exercise training programme, 20-30min. at 70-80% of HRmax; Group B = 400 µg folic acid and 25 µg vitamin B12 supplement; Group C = control). Group A and B were crossed over for phase 11, and Group C remained the control. The questionnaires were completed, and the body composition variables (BMI, WHR and body fat percentage), cardiovascular function (Finometer), tHcy concentrations and VO2max, were measured before and
after each 12-week intervention period. A 6-week washout period separated the crossovers. Results: The ANCOVA, adjusted for age and BMI, showed that the percentage change from baseline to end, corrected for baseline of the tHcy concentration increased significantly (p ≤ .05) by 9.7% with the exercise training intervention and decreased significantly (p ≤ .05) by 12.9%, with the vitamin supplementation intervention. The ANCOVA of the percentage change from baseline to end in cardiovascular function showed that the vitamin supplementation intervention resulted in improvements in cardiovascular function (decreased resting MAP, TPR and increased resting SV, CO, Cw) in comparison to the impairment in cardiovascular function with the exercise training intervention (increased resting DBP, MAP and TPR). The relationship between the tHcy concentration and cardiovascular function at baseline and within each of the different interventions were assessed by partial correlations adjusted for age, BMI and VO2max. Significant (p ≤ .05) relationships only occurred within the vitamin supplementation intervention, where decreased percentage change in tHcy concentration significantly correlated with increased percentage change of resting SV and CO and decreased percentage change of resting TPR. Conclusion: The general conclusion that can be drawn is that a 12-week vitamin supplementation intervention showed increased health related results, e.g. a significant reduction in tHcy concentration, an improvement in cardiovascular function and a significant positive relationship between these two
factors, in comparison to the 12-week exercise training intervention that significantly increased the tHcy concentration and did not show increased health related results. Due to inadequate compliance to the exercise training intervention, no conclusion can be drawn with regard to the effect of exercise training on tHcy concentrations and cardiovascular function.