B Vitamins May Prevent Dementia

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New research from the University of Oxford indicates that a combination of B vitamins can slow cognitive decline in individuals at risk for dementia. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, attributes the effect to lowering blood homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is a byproduct of protein metabolism that can damage connective tissues and contribute to oxidative stress. High-protein diets, poor nutrition, age, and genetics factors can result in elevated homocysteine levels. According to the study, daily supplementation with vitamin B6 (20 mg), vitamin B12 (500 mcg), and folic acid (800 mcg) lowered homocysteine levels and thereby slowed gray matter atrophy as much as seven fold in areas of the brain that are normally affected by Alzheimer’s disease. In a placebo group, higher homocysteine levels were associated with faster atrophy. However, B-vitamin supplementation largely eliminated this effect in the treatment group.

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Reference: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23690582