By Peter Russell, WebMD Health News
Elderly people with mild memory problems may benefit from taking very high daily doses of vitamin B to slow the rate of brain shrinkage, say researchers.
A University of Oxford study found that taking vitamin B tablets every day can reduce the rate of brain atrophy in older people with mild cognitive impairment by as much as half.
The B vitamins were Folic Acid, B6 and B12. These vitamins prevent the accumulation of homocysteine.
Some B vitamins — folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 — 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 researchers from the Oxford Project to Investigate Memory and Ageingfollowed 168 volunteers with mild memory problems. Half were given a proprietary tablet called TrioBePlus, which contained high doses of vitamin B each day for two years, while the remainder took a placebo.
The tablets used were nothing like the ones you might buy in a supermarket or pharmacy; they are very high doses.
The researchers found that, on average, the brains of those taking the folic acid, vitamin B6, and B12 tablet shrank at a rate of 0.76% a year, while the brains of the group taking the placebo shrank at a rate of 1.08%.
Dr. Pinna says:
Homocysteine is a protein that adheres to arterial walls and was once thought to be a cause heart disease.
It makes very little difference how much Vitamin B you take, because all B vitamins are water soluble and leave the system quickly.