Vitamin B 12 for Alzheimers and memory disorders

Clin Ther. 1992 May-Jun;14(3):426-37.

Treatment of Alzheimer-type dementia with intravenous mecobalamin.

Ikeda T, Yamamoto K, Takahashi K, Kaku Y, Uchiyama M, Sugiyama K, Yamada M.

Department of Neuropsychiatry, Yamaguchi University School of Medicine, Japan.


The efficacy of intravenous mecobalamin in the treatment of Alzheimer-type dementia was evaluated in ten patients using several rating scales. Vitamin B12 levels and unsaturated binding capacities were also measured and compared to the evaluated intellectual function scores. Mecobalamin was shown to improve intellectual functions, such as memory, emotional functions, and communication with other people. Improvements in cognitive functions were relatively constant when the vitamin B12 levels in the cerebrospinal fluid were high. Improvements in communication functions were seen when a certain level of vitamin B12 was maintained for a longer period. There were no side effects attributable to mecobalamin. We conclude that mecobalamin is a safe and effective treatment for psychiatric disorders in patients with Alzheimer-type dementia.

CNS Spectr. 2010 Jan;15(1 Suppl 1):2-5; discussion 6.

L-methylfolate, methylcobalamin, and N-acetylcysteine in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease-related cognitive decline.

McCaddon A, Hudson PR.

Cardiff University, Cardiff School of Medicine, North Wales, United Kingdom.

CNS Spectr. 2010 Jan;15(1 Suppl 1):7.


Neuroinflammatory oxidative stress occurs early in AD pathology. Elevated blood Hcy is a useful marker for such neuroinflammation. Hcy contributes to pathological cascades involving AP and NFTs. In AD, Hcy should be lowered by B-vitamin supplements and NAC.

Clin Ther. 2007 Oct;29(10):2204-14.

Efficacy of multivitamin supplementation containing vitamins B6 and B12 and folic acid as adjunctive treatment with a cholinesterase inhibitor in Alzheimer’s disease: a 26-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in Taiwanese patients.

Sun Y, Lu CJ, Chien KL, Chen ST, Chen RC.

Department of Neurology, En Chu Kong Hospital, San-shia, Taipei, Taiwan.


BACKGROUND: Elevated serum homocysteine levels have been associated with the development of Alzheimer’s dementia (AD). The combined use of a mecobalamin capsule preparation, which contains vitamin B12 0.5 mg with an active methyl base, and an over-the-counter nutritional supplement that contains folic acid 1 mg and pyridoxine hyperchloride 5 mg may be effective as a homocysteine-lowering vitamin regimen.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to determine whether oral multivitamin supplementation containing vitamins B6 and B12 and folic acid would improve cognitive function and reduce serum homocysteine levels in patients with mild to moderate AD.

METHODS: This randomized, double-blind, placebocontrolled trial was conducted at En Chu Kong Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan. Male and female patients aged >50 years with mild to moderate AD and normal folic acid and vitamin B12 concentrations were enrolled. All patients received treatment with an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor and were randomized to receive add-on mecobalamin (B12) 500 mg + multivitamin supplement, or placebos, PO QD for 26 weeks. The multivitamin contained pyridoxine (B6) 5 mg, folic acid 1 mg, and other vitamins and iron. Serum homocysteine level was measured and cognitive tests were conducted at baseline and after 26 weeks. The primary efficacy outcome was change in cognition, measured as the change in score from baseline to week 26 on the Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale 11-item Cognition subscale. Secondary efficacy outcomes included changes in function in performance of activities of daily living (ADLs) and concentrations of homocysteine, B12, and folic acid. Tolerability was assessed by comparing the 2 study groups with respect to physical examination findings, including changes in vital signs, laboratory test abnormalities, concomitant medication use, and compliance of study medication was assessed using an interview with the patient’s caregiver, as well as the monitoring of adverse events (AEs) throughout the study.

RESULTS: Eighty-nine patients (45 men, 44 women; all Taiwanese; mean [SD] age, 75 [7.3] years) were enrolled and randomized. Overall, there were no significant differences in cognition or ADL function scores between the 2 groups. At week 26, the mean (SD) between-group difference in serum homocysteine concentration versus placebo was -2.25 (2.85) micromol/L (P = 0.008), and the mean serum concentrations of vitamin B12 and folic acid were significantly higher (but within normal range) in the multivitamin group compared with placebo (., +536.9 [694.4] pg/mL [P < 0.001] and +13.84 ng/mL [11.17] [P = 0.012] at 26 weeks, respectively). The 2 most common AEs were muscle pain (11.1% and 6.8%) and insomnia (8.9% and 9.1%) in the multivitamin and placebo groups, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: In this population of patients with mild to moderate AD in Taiwan, a multivitamin supplement containing vitamins B(6) and B(12) and folic acid for 26 weeks decreased homocysteine concentrations. No statistically significant beneficial effects on cognition or ADL function were found between multivitamin and placebo at 26 weeks.

CNS Spectr. 2010 Jan;15(1 Suppl 1):7.

Commentary on: L-methylfolate, methylcobolamine, and N-acetylcysteine in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease-related cognitive decline.

Cummings JL.

Department of Neurology and Psychiatry, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, USA.

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