This Antioxidant DOESN’T Stop Memory Loss!

By on July 19, 2014
It’s a scary statistic: Every 67 seconds, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s disease. With that number expected to triple, researchers are desperate to find a cure–and now new research shows something that won’t help.

Although previous studies showed vitamin B may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, a new study from the University of Oxford now says it has no impact on the disease.

That’s bad news for those at risk.

“It would have been very nice to have found something different,” says Dr. Robert Clarke, an Oxford University researcher. “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.”

The Research

The study, which was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, was conducted by those participating in the B-Vitamin Treatment Trialists’ Collaboration, led by the University of Oxford Clinical Trial Service Unit. Researchers gathered data from a total of 11 clinical trials involving more than 22,000 people to see if B vitamins had an effect on a person’s dementia risk. Their hypothesis was based on good reasoning: High levels of homocysteine are found in those with Alzheimer’s, and vitamin B helps lower these levels. Therefore, vitamin B could possibly lower the risk of dementia.

However, that wasn’t the case, according to their research. Instead, what they found was that vitamin B helped lower levels of homocysteine–but it didn’t improve their mental capabilities.

“Although one trial in 2010 showed that for people with high homocysteine, B vitamins had some beneficial effect on the rate of brain shrinkage, this comprehensive review of several trials shows that B vitamins have not been able to slow mental decline as we age, nor are they likely to prevent Alzheimer’s,” says Dr. Simon Ridley, the acting Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK. “While the outcome of this new and far reaching analysis is not what we hoped for, it does underline the need for larger studies to improve certainty around the effects of any treatment.”

Bottom line? If you’re taking vitamin B supplements to improve your memory, it’s probably a waste of time.

“Taking supplements like B vitamins doesn’t prevent heart disease, stroke or cognitive decline,” says Clarke. “About 25-30% of the adult population take multivitamins, 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.”

In the meanwhile, other researchers say that vitamin D may have more promise as an anti-dementia drug, though evidence is limited. Previous research found that those with higher levels of vitamin D in their bloodstream were less likely to develop dementia.

Readers: Do you take a multivitamin or a vitamin supplement? Why or why not?

Study: Vitamin B Does Not Lower Risk of Alzheimer’
Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and
Vitamin D and Alzheimer’s

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