A newly published study found that high dose B-vitamins may promote cognitive health in the elderly.
UK researchers used MRIs to track changes over two years in the brains of 200 elderly volunteers with mild cognitive health issues.
During this two-year study period, 100 of the volunteers were given high doses of vitamin B12 (500 mcg), vitamin B6 (20 mg), and folic acid/folate, while the other 100 people took a placebo.
This research builds upon earlier studies done by the same researchers that showed that high doses of B vitamins slowed whole-brain shrinkage. This new study investigated more closely precisely which brain regions are protected.
The results found that the people receiving the B-vitamins showed 90% less brain shrinkage than those taking the placebo, and that the hippocampus and the cerebellum were the areas of the brain that were protected.
The study’s lead author recommended that even though more research is needed, doctors should consider providing daily B vitamin supplements to people at high risk of age-related cognitive decline, since B vitamin supplements are safe for most people.
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G Douaud et al, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 2013, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1301816110
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