Posted on Oct 01, 2010, 6 a.m.
Vitamin B supplementation helps to reduce the rate of brain shrinkage, a process that is implicated in memory disorders including Alzheimer’s Disease.
Brain shrinkage (atrophy) is accelerated in people experiencing memory issues, including Alzheimer’s Disease. In that homocysteine is a risk factor for brain atrophy, A. David Smith, from University of Oxford (United Kingdom), and colleagues explored whether Vitamin B supplementation could slow the rate of brain atrophy in people with mild cognitive impairment. The team enrolled 168 men and women, ages 70 years and older, administering high doses of folic acid, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12 daily, for a 24-month period. Measuring the rate of brain atrophy by MRI, the team found that the daily Vitamin B supplementation reduced brain shrinkage associated with dementia by up to 53%. Writing that: “The accelerated rate of brain atrophy in elderly with mild cognitive impairment can be slowed by treatment with homocysteine-lowering B vitamins,” the researchers posit that: “Since accelerated brain atrophy is a characteristic of subjects with mild cognitive impairment who convert to Alzheimer's disease, trials are needed to see if the same treatment will delay the development of Alzheimer's disease.”
Smith AD, Smith SM, de Jager CA, Whitbread P, Johnston C, et al. “Homocysteine-Lowering by B Vitamins Slows the Rate of Accelerated Brain Atrophy in Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” PLoS ONE 5(9): e12244; doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0012244 .