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Vitamin B linked to slowing Alzheimer's


Taking vitamin B could significantly slow the onset of age-related memory loss and Alzheimer’s, a study has suggested.

In large daily doses, B vitamins were shown to cut the rate of brain shrinkage by more than 50% in some elderly people with mild cognitive impairment, an early form of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

Brain atrophy, which is a natural part of ageing, is known to occur quicker in people with MCI who later develop Alzheimer’s.

Researchers at Oxford University, assisted by colleagues in Norway, said they now think the vitamin treatment could delay or even prevent development of the disease if use early enough. They are trying to secure funding to put this theory to the test.

The research by the the British-led team, published in the online journal Public Library of Science ONE, is controversial because it defies current scientific thinking about the way to tackle Alzheimer’s.

It suggests simply taking vitamins can achieve results that have so far evaded pharmaceutical companies, despite millions of pounds being spent on experimental dementia drugs.

The researchers used an advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique to study brain shrinkage in 168 volunteers over the age of 70 with diagnosed MCI.

Over a period of two years, half were given a daily tablet containing high doses of the B vitamins folate, B6 and B12. The rest received a “dummy” placebo pill with no active ingredients.

At the end of the trial the effects of the vitamin treatment were found to be dramatic and most pronounced in participants who started out with the highest rates of brain shrinkage.

On average, taking B vitamins slowed the rate of brain atrophy by 30%, and in some cases reductions as high as 53% were seen.


Readers' comments (4)

  • if only!
    the result of all these articles in the media makes the general public rush out and purchase, at great expense, extra vitamins instead of correcting their habits and dietary problems. the problems with this are that many vitamins cannot be stored so that the capsules no longer contain the advertised dose and if the body does manage to get a higher dosage of vitamins than it needs it tends to eject any excess. without blood tests it is not possible to determine which vitamins may be lacking and furthermore excssive intakes of one vitamin or mineral salts in favour of others can cause a serious imbalance in the system. nature is far better, and more economical, at balancing out any deficits than the addition of any manufactured products and a well balanced diet and fluid (non-alcoholic) intake, adequate exercise and fresh air are far healthier than any off the shelf adjuvants. if health, our most precious resource is abused, what is the point of trying, rather inadequately, to patch it up later when it is too late.

    lack of vitamin b12 leads to wernike's aphasia in alcohics. i was told the other day that many people in government in southern and middle europe, some of which are corrupt, lack vitamin b. are there any links here?

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  • Well, well, well. Turns out what the naturopaths and nutritional therapists have been saying for years is right. Whatever next?
    Also turns out that folic acid alone does not guarantee problems in foetal development, again listen to the naturopaths and nutritional therapists for a more in-depth, balanced and qualified nutritional advice.
    Above-your leaps and sloppy logic is laughable, and that's besides your xenophobic comment in finishing. What research emerges in terms of information does not determine what people do with that information. There is also a difference between a daily balanced diet when no illness is apparent and therapeutic nutrition in the throes of and treatment of an illness, whatever the cause.
    Better find some new mates in the pub.

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  • I would refer the writer above to the following article published in the New Scientist

    Caution urged over vitamin B dementia therapy
    Claims that large doses of B vitamins could protect against dementia are not quite as dramatic as the headlines suggest, says Jessica Hamzelou
    16:12 9 September 2010

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  • maybe once nursing becomes an all gradute profession registered nurses will be better able to evaluate research and write more constructive comments which are worthwhile reading.

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