Vitamin Bs and Alzheimer’s

Dr. Weeks’ Comment: At the Weeks Clinic, we have used IM vitamin B shots for the past 20 years to assist those patients struggling with the dehumanizing effects of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.  IM shots seem to be far more effective than oral ingestion of B vitamins since older people  typically have inadequate amounts of intrinsic factor in their stomachs resulting is less efficient absorption of B vitamins required for maintenance of cognitive function.  This is another “centsible” treatment: safe, effective and cheap.

 

Vitamin B may protect against Alzheimer’s, say reseachers

 

The 2010 clinical trial examined the effect of high doses of folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 on brain shrinkage in 168 participants with memory problems.

Science Recorder | James Fluere | Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Researchers at the University of Oxford have discovered the vitamin B may protect against Alzheimer’s. They found that B vitamins could halve brain shrinkage in older people with memory problems. The new discovery takes a second look at data from a 2010 clinical trial, linking vitamin B to slower rates of shrinkage in areas of the brain impacted in Alzheimer’s disease in individuals with high levels of homocysteine.

The 2010 clinical trial examined the effect of high doses of folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 on brain shrinkage in 168 participants with memory problems. The study revealed that rates of total brain shrinkage were slower in those taking vitamin B, although this was most noticeable in individuals with high levels of the amino acid homocysteine in their blood.

Earlier research has linked high levels of homocysteine to cognitive impairment and a higher risk of Alzheimer’s. These levels climb with age, and the consumption of folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 can help lower these levels in the blood.

The researchers decided to take a second look at scans from the study participants. Instead of focusing on total brain shrinkage, they now examined shrinkage in different areas of the brain.

Seventy-seven of the study participants had homocysteine levels higher than 11.06 mol/L. Compared to participants with lower levels, these participants had a quicker rate of shrinkage in the areas of the brain known to be impacted in Alzheimer’s disease. Vitamin B supplements slowed the shrinkage in these areas by nearly 9-fold over the two-year study period. Vitamin B supplements, on the other hand, had no impact on participants with lower levels of homocysteine.

The researchers also learned that shrinkage in these brain regions was linked to a poorer performance on some cognitive tests. The researchers reached the conclusion that high doses of vitamin B can reduce homocysteine levels, which can slow the rate of brain shrinkage, which could in turn protect people against Alzheimer’s.

According to Dr. Eric Karran, Director of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, this study is one of the biggest studies to examine B vitamins in people with memory problems. Although the study revealed that vitamin B supplements can slow the rate of brain shrinkage, he notes that it would be premature to conclude that these effects suggest someone is less likely to develop dementia in the long term.

The study’s findings are published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

THANKS to Dr. Wilkinson of Wilkinson Wellness in Yakima WA for sending me the article!

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