I often am asked by people in their fifties and a few people in their forties as to what they can do to prevent the development of Alzheimer’s Disease. Because there is a growing number of people with this disorder, the fear of contracting this disease is growing. During my years in medical school I saw one patient with Alzheimer’s. That was in 1975. It was considered to be a rare disorder.
Now there is an epidemic, that I believe is by in large caused by yet to be determined environmental causes. Our genes and family history play a small role in the development of this disorder. This study shares some insight into the role B vitamins and zinc play in the prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Brain shrinkage, also known as atrophy is a very common physical change that happens with mild cognitive impairment, and can be an early sign of dementia. So you know from the previous report taking omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce shrinkage in very important areas of the brain.
Also, very important to brain function, studies conducted a few years ago have found that high levels of homocysteine, a toxic amino acid are associated with confirmed or suspected dementia. The large, multiple decade Framingham study has reported that people with high levels of homocysteine (levels above 14 micromoles/liter) had and double risk of developing dementia.
Vitamin B deficiency is linked to higher levels of homocysteine, as they are required factors and aid the enzymes involved in homocysteine metabolism.
Public Library of Science One published a study that observed a link between lower homocysteine levels and B vitamin supplementation, that reduces brain shrinkage and slows the development of dementia.
The study evaluated 168 participants over a two year period. It determined that the participants taking B vitamin supplements experienced an average 30 percent reduction of brain shrinkage, while some had more than a 50 per cent reduction.
The study’s authors wrote, “B vitamin treatment led to a difference in final homocysteine concentration of 31.7 percent compared with the placebo, and was accompanied by a reduction in the rate of brain atrophy of almost 30 percent.
They concluded that the vitamin B homocysteine-lowering vitamins could reduce the increased rate of brain shrinkage in senior citizen people with mild cognitive impairment.