Do B vitamins stop Alzheimer’s?

It has long been theorised that taking B vitamins may lower your risk of Alzheimer’s.

Do B vitamins stop Alzheimer’s?

It has long been theorised that taking B vitamins may lower your risk of Alzheimer’s. A new study shows how this theory came about, and whether or not it works.

A blood compound called homocysteine appears in high levels in the blood of those who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. Healthy individuals who also have high levels of homocysteine have been shown to have an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

So it makes sense that if you could lower your levels of this compound, your risk of Alzheimer’s would drop, right? This is what scientists proposed with the ‘homocysteine hypothesis’. They had discovered that taking folic acid and vitamin B-12 would lower the level of homocysteine in the body, and they hypothesised that taking B vitamins could reduce a person’s risk of Alzheimer’s because of this effect.

So, to prove it, researchers assembled the data of all the best clinical trials focussing on this effect. They considered data from 22,000 people, and looked at whether those taking B vitamins and those taking a placebo differed in the decline of their mental function.

Unfortunately they were able to determine, with a high degree of accuracy, that there was no difference between those who took B vitamins and those who did not. It didn’t change the rate of mental decline and it didn’t prevent Alzheimer’s, even though those taking B vitamins saw a reduction of homocysteine in their blood tests by around a quarter.

“It would have been very nice to have found something different,” said Dr Robert Clarke of Oxford University, who led the research. “Our study draws a line under the debate: B vitamins don't reduce cognitive decline as we age. Taking folic acid and vitamin B-12 is sadly not going to prevent Alzheimer's disease.”

“Taking supplements like B vitamins doesn't prevent heart disease, stroke or cognitive decline,” says Professor Clarke. “About 25% of the adult population [in the UK] take multi-vitamins, often with the idea that they are also good for the heart or the brain, but the evidence just isn’t there. Much better is to eat more fruit and vegetables, avoid too much red meat and too many calories, and have a balanced diet.”

You can read more about this study at the ScienceDaily website


    To make a comment, please register or login
    31st Jul 2014
    I'm giving up that Homocysteine Right Away !!..
    I've also found that Sniffing Racing Fuel doesn't make Me type any faster either !!
    31st Jul 2014
    particolor did you try a red car and if so did you go faster
    31st Jul 2014
    No I was Conned by that Moustache Twirler too ??
    31st Jul 2014
    B group vitamins are found in many foods. They are water soluble and delicate. They are easily destroyed particularly by alcohol and cooking. Processed foods also reduce B vitamins in foods making white flours, breads and rice less nutritious than whole grain counterparts.
    The body has a limited capacity to store B vitamins except B12 and Folate.
    Vitamin B supplements can sometimes mask deficiencies of other vitamins. It is important not to self-diagnose a vitamin deficiency because some vitamins can be toxic if taken incorrectly.
    However, the B group tests reported on above did show some small sign of reduced brain shrinkage but nothing to prevent Alzheimers.
    Its hard to get good quality fruit and vegetables from a supermarket with vibrant vitamins and minerals as the food travels great distances before it reaches the supermarket shelves.
    Grow your own is best if you have the time, energy and space to do it.
    Fruit and vegetables start to lose their vitamin content 24 yours after being picked. They retain their minerals for longer.
    31st Jul 2014
    Sorry folks: the last line should have read 24 hours.
    Also, B group vitamins especially Vitamin B1 are good for the nervous system.
    31st Jul 2014
    Now I know why I Love My Vegemite on toast !!
    Polly Esther
    31st Jul 2014
    Vitamin B. What's the point? I keep forgetting to take my regular pills already.

    1st Aug 2014
    Well you witty lot are in absolute fine form today…. thank you, I really needed a chuckle.
    1st Aug 2014
    HEY MUSS !!... How would You like a Glass of Sherry and a Cigar ??
    3rd Aug 2014
    (SHAKING head)+looking@particolour and i thought you had it down pat.
    Perhaps if you stop eating Genetically Altered food, that might help!!
    but you might have to take up gardening to do that i wonder if you would have the energy for it lol.
    10th Jul 2020
    My husband had a good balanced diet, didn't smoke and didn't drink very much alcohol and still developed Alzheimer's Disease which he has now had for over 9 years. He is now in a very advanced stage and has been in a nursing home for the past 3 years. I take Garlic, Horseradish with Vitamin C, Fenugreek and Marshmallow (tablets) every day for severe sinus problems. I do get Sinusitis about twice a year for which I usually need 2 courses of antibiotics. Other than this I find that the Garlic etc. tablets help my breathing considerably and give me a fair bit of relief. I also take 2 - 3 other vitamins/minerals but this is on the advice of my GP and specialist. I am aware that taking too many vitamins/minerals can cause problems. I have just had to reduce the intake of Calcium on the advice of my specialist.

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