Ground-breaking research from Oxford University was published on 21st May 2013, showing that inexpensive B vitamins stopped shrinkage in the area of the brain that defines Alzheimer's disease, called the medial temporal lobe. While most people diagnosed with dementia have Alzheimer's, the diagnosis of Alzheimer's requires confirmation with a brain scan that shows degeneration of this specific area of the brain. The discovery that this area virtually stops shrinking in some people with high dose B vitamins is a highly important and convincing breakthrough in understanding what causes, and can prevent Alzheimer's.
The study, led by Professor David Smith from the University of Oxford, gave a combination of high dose vitamin B6, B12 and folic acid or placebo pills to people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), the stage before a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer's.
"The specific areas of the brain associated with Alzheimer's disease shrank 8 times more slowly in those taking B vitamins than in those on the placebo. This is strongly indicative that the B vitamins may be substantially slowing down, or even potentially arresting, the disease process in those with early stage cognitive decline. This is the first treatment that has been shown to do this” said Professor David Smith.
In a previous study the Oxford research group had shown that the higher a person's homocysteine level, which is a reliable marker for Alzheimer's risk, the greater was the rate of shrinkage of the whole brain, and that lowering homocysteine with B vitamins markedly slowed any further memory decline in those with raised homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is a common amino acid found in the blood and is acquired mostly from eating meat. High levels of homocysteine are related to the development of heart disease and are associated with low levels of vitamin B6, B12, and folate aswell.
According to Professor Smith "This makes the need for early screening for the first signs of cognitive decline from the age of 50, for example with the Cognitive Function Test at foodforthebrain.org vitally important, backed up by homocysteine testing and potential B vitamin treatment. Half of all people over age 65, potentially may benefit with reduced brain shrinkage by taking high dose B6, B12 and folic acid, but this should be done under medical supervision."
The Cognitive Function test is a FREE on-line 15 minute screening test anyone can do to check their memory, offered by the charity foodforthebrain.org.
According to nutritionist Patrick Holford from the Food for the Brain Foundation "These doses, which have now been shown to stop memory loss and brain shrinkage, are much higher than you can get from a good diet alone…This dose is considered to be safe, but means taking specific homocysteine lowering supplements and not just any multivitamin or B complex.”
Meanwhile take the first step by doing this Free online test: