Tag Archives: B vitamins

B vitamins may slow cognitive decline

28 Aug

Dr. Greger takes a look at the most recent work on the cognitive effects of B vitamins:

Initially, the results were disappointing. Vitamin supplementation did not seem to work, but the studies were tracking neuropsychological assessments, which are more subjective compared to structural neuroimaging—that is, actually seeing what’s happening to the brain. A double-blind randomized controlled trial found that homocysteine-lowering by B vitamins can slow the rate of accelerated brain atrophy in people with mild cognitive impairment. As we age, our brains slowly atrophy, but the shrinking is much accelerated in patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. An intermediate rate of shrinkage is found in people with mild cognitive impairment. The thinking is if we could slow the rate of brain loss, we may be able to slow the conversion to Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers tried giving people B vitamins for two years and found it markedly slowed the rate of brain shrinkage. The rate of atrophy in those with high homocysteine levels was cut in half. A simple, safe treatment can slow the accelerated rate of brain loss.

A follow-up study went further by demonstrating that B-vitamin treatment reduces, by as much as seven-fold, the brain atrophy in the regions specifically vulnerable to the Alzheimer’s disease process.

B vitamin treatment reduces Alzheimer’s related brain atrophy

22 Aug

A study published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences  reports that supplementation with B vitamins, specifically 0.8 mg of folic acid, 20 mg of vitamin B6 and .5 mg of vitamin B12, slowed cognitive decline and brain atrophy in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. The pdf of the original paper can be found here.

The study appears to have been well conducted using a placebo control group. The authors believe that B vitamins reduce the body’s level of homocysteine, an amino acid that is linked to inflammation. According to the abstract:

“Our results show that B-vitamin supplementation can slow the atrophy of specific brain regions that are a key component of the AD (Alzheimer’s disease) process and that are associated with cognitive decline. Further B-vitamin supplementation trials focusing on elderly subjects with high homocysteine levels are warranted to see if progression to dementia can be prevented.”




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