A new study has found that daily doses of Vitamin B could halve the rate of brain shrinkage in elderly people and may even delay or prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
The two-year study, led by a team of British scientists and researchers at Oxford University, found that increased vitamin intake could slow development of the disease.
The researchers studied brain atrophy in 168 volunteers over the age of 70 who had been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Brain shrinkage commonly occurs at a faster rate in people with MCI (such impairments are often an early indicator of Alzheimer’s).
Half of the volunteers in the study were asked to take a tablet with a high dose of folate, B6 and B12, each day for two years. The other half were given placebo pills.
It was found that the vitamin tablets delayed the rate of brain atrophy by 30 per cent, and even up to 54% in some instances.
Whilst the researchers were impressed by the dramatic results, they stressed that the vitamin doses prescribed in the trial were much higher than levels found in a normal diet. They mention more studies are needed into the long-term effects of high doses of vitamin B.
"It is our hope that this simple and safe treatment will delay the development of Alzheimer's disease in many people who suffer from mild memory problems."