Vitamin B12 may offer protection against Alzheimer’s

October 21, 2010 in Nutrition for Older Adults, Nutrition Topics in the News

Vitamin B12 may offer protection against Alzheimer’s
According to a new study released earlier this week, vitamin B12 may help protect against Alzheimer's disease.

The study suggests that seniors with more of the active part of the vitamin in their blood have a lower risk of developing the disease.

To investigate, researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, took blood samples of 271 Finnish seniors without dementia who were all aged 65 to 79.
At a second examination about seven years later, they found 17 (six percent) had developed Alzheimer's.

Researchers found participants with the highest levels of vitamin B12 were the least likely to be diagnosed with dementia, including Alzheimer's.

Alzheimer's has been linked to B vitamins for some years, and scientists know that higher levels of a body chemical called homocysteine can raise the risk of both strokes and dementia.  Homocysteine levels can be lowered by increasing the amount of vitamin B12 in the blood.

However, the findings don't necessarily mean that taking B vitamin supplements will stave off mental decline, since more studies are needed to confirm the findings.

Vitamin B12 is easy to get through diet, and is found in abundance in a variety of foods, including dairy, eggs, fish and meat.

According to the Alzheimer Society, 1 in 11 Canadians over the age of 65 currently has Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia. Women represent 72% of all cases of Alzheimer's disease.

The findings were published in the journal Neurology.

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