Vitamin B is for Brain Health

The University of Oxford published an article in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. The article included their results of double-blind, placebo-controlled study of the effect of B-vitamin treatment on cognitive impairment. The study set out to measure risk factors, such as homocysteine levels (a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease) along with cognitive and clinical decline, to determine if they were affected by the treatment.

The experiment consisted of 266 participants, aged ≥70 years, and included participants that already showed signs of mild cognitive impairment. 133 individuals were assigned to receive a daily placebo and the remaining 133 received a B-vitamin treatment. The vitamin B treatment consisted of a daily dose of 0.8mg folic acid, 0.5mg vitamin B12 and 20mg vitamin B6. The subjects received treatment for a period of two years.

The results show that B vitamins do appear to slow cognitive and clinical decline. Total plasma homocysteine was 30% lower in those treated with the B-vitamin treatment than in the placebo group. Additionally there was a significant improvement in executive function, global cognition, episodic memory, and semantic memory.

Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2012 Jun;27(6):592-600.