Global pharmaceutical makers have spent a not-so-small fortune trying to develop drugs to stave off Alzheimer’s disease and dementia — to no avail. As it turns out, a mere handful of inexpensive vitamins may do the trick.
A recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that vitamins B6 and B12, along with folic acid, slowed down the shrinkage, or atrophy, of the gray matter in brain areas impacted by Alzheimer’s, according to Bloomberg News.
In the study, scientists followed 156 subjects aged 70 and older who suffered from some memory loss and had high levels of a protein that’s been tied to dementia, Bloomberg reported. Of this group with the elevated homocysteine, the ones who were given a placebo had a 5.2 percent decrease in their brain’s gray matter, Bloomberg reported, versus 0.6 percent for those who were given the vitamins.
The study’s author, A. David Smith, told Bloomberg that this vitamin mix is “the first and only disease-modifying treatment that’s worked” for dementia.
From age 60, people’s brains shrink about 0.5 percent a year, and even more in those with dementia, Alzheimer’s or vitamin B12 deficiency, according to Bloomberg. By slowing down this shrinkage, the elderly could be able to live out more of their years in peace and good mental health.
This treatment won’t help anyone who already has Alzheimer’s.
In the study volunteers either got a placebo or a “cocktail” of 0.5 milligrams of vitamin B12, 20 milligrams of vitamin B6 and 0.8 milligrams of folic acid. They underwent MRIs of their brains and had the level of the protein homocysteine in their blood measured, Bloomberg reported. Those tests were done the start of the test and then two years later.
The MRIs contrasted how much gray matter was lost in those two years in the parts of the brain most impacted by Alzheimer’s.
I’d suggest taking preemptive action and starting taking vitamin B12, B6 and folic acid.