Vitamin B Gives Hope To Alzheimer’s Patients

Vitamin B Gives Hope To Alzheimer’s Patients

A recent study conducted by Oxford University is indicating that large doses of vitamin B can help halt memory memory loss.

Dan Gould
  • 9 september 2010

A recent study conducted by Oxford University is indicating that large doses of vitamin B can help halt memory memory loss in Alzheimer’s patients.

Certain B vitamins – folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 – are known to control levels of the amino acid homocysteine in the blood, and high levels of homocysteine are associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s.

So the Oxford team set out to see whether supplements of the B vitamins that lower homocysteine could slow the higher rate of brain shrinkage, or atrophy, observed in mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s.

The study followed 168 volunteers aged 70 or over with mild memory problems, half of whom took high dose B vitamin tablets for two years and the other half a placebo tablet. The researchers assessed disease progression in this group by using MRI scans to measure the brain atrophy rate over a two-year period. The findings are published in the journal PLoS ONE.

The team found that on average the brains of those taking the folic acid, vitamin B6 and B12 treatment shrank at a rate of 0.76% a year, while those in the placebo group had a mean brain shrinkage rate of 1.08%. People with the highest levels of homocysteine benefited most, showing atrophy rates on treatment that were half of those on placebo.

Oxford University: “B vitamins slow brain atrophy in people with memory problems”

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