Oct 15, 2008

Vitamin B Doesn't Stop Alzheimer's

A new study indicates that Vitamin B supplements do not slow cognitive decline in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. The study, High-Dose B Vitamin Supplementation and Cognitive Decline in Alzheimer Disease, is published in the October 15 issue of Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA, subscription needed).
"The results of the study indicate that we were successful in lowering homocysteine levels, but this did not translate into cognitive or clinical benefits," said lead researcher Dr. Paul S. Aisen, a professor at the University of California, San Diego, Department of Neurosciences. "The disappointing conclusion is that high-dose B vitamin treatment is not helpful in Alzheimer's disease."

Taking vitamin B won't slow Alzheimer's: study

High-dose vitamin B supplements do not slow cognitive decline in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease, according to results of an 18-month clinical trial published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

An amino acid called homocysteine is known to be involved in Alzheimer's disease and its metabolism is affected by B vitamins. Therefore, researchers theorized that B vitamin supplements, by reducing homocysteine levels, would slow cognitive decline in Alzheimer's patients.

"Prior studies using B vitamin supplementation to reduce homocysteine levels in patients with Alzheimer's weren't large enough, or of long enough duration to effectively assess their impact on cognitive decline," Dr. Paul S. Aisen of the University of California, San Diego, in La Jolla, noted in a written statement.

The current study of 409 adults with probable Alzheimer's disease "showed no impact on cognition" of high-dose folic acid and vitamin B6 and B12 supplementation over the course of 18 months, although it resulted in lower levels of homocysteine, Aisen said.

There were no differences in cognitive abilities as measured via testing with the Alzheimer Disease Assessment Scale in people who got placebo and those who got vitamin B supplements. However, symptoms of depression were more common in the vitamin B supplement group.

"Our study does not support the treatment of individuals with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease and normal vitamin levels with B vitamin supplements," Aisen and colleagues conclude.

SOURCE: Journal of the American Medical Association, October 15, 2008.

Also see this more recent updated research --

Can Vitamin B Slow the Onset or Development of Alzheimer's and Dementia?

Subscribe to the Alzheimer's Reading Room

Enter Your Email Address

More About the Alzheimer's Reading Room

Bob DeMarco is the editor of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. Bob has written more than 1,810 articles with more than 92,100 links on the Internet. Bob resides in Delray Beach, FL.

The Alzheimer's Action Plan
300 Tips for Making Life Easier

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room