Can B Vitamins Help to Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s disease robs a person of their memories, thoughts and individuality. When surveyed, people indicate that of all diseases, this form of dementia is the most dreaded and misunderstood.
Medical science can offer little more than palliative care and ineffective pharmaceuticals to those suffering from Alzheimer’s as the number of people afflicted continues to grow at an alarming rate. While there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease once it has begun its progression toward darkness, new research is beginning to shine a light on a super nutrient that could help compliment a healthy lifestyle toward prevention.
High Homocysteine Linked to Alzheimer’s Disease
Homocysteine is a naturally occurring amino acid commonly seen in excess due to a diet high in meat and protein sources. High blood levels are known to be a risk factor for heart disease as the amino acid damages the delicate inner lining of the coronary arteries.
Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine demonstrated that elevated homocysteine levels double the risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and B12 dramatically lower levels of homocysteine in the blood as they help to convert excess amounts of the amino acid for excretion.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency Linked with Alzheimer’s Disease
Evidence is mounting to suggest that a vitamin B12 deficiency may be connected to increased risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. The results of a study released in the journal Neurology studied the level of homocysteine and vitamin B12 in elderly subjects.
They found that for every single unit increase in the blood level of homocysteine, the risk of Alzheimer’s disease jumped by 16%. Similarly, risk decreased by 2% for each unit increase in blood concentration of Vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is known to become dangerously low with age, and represents a significant factor in the development of Alzheimer’s disease that requires more research.
Brain Shrinkage Cut in Half with B Vitamins
The normal shrinking of the brain with age has been viewed as normal, but scientists have been able to show that shrinkage can be halted and reduced with high doses of B vitamins. While smaller brain size is not directly linked with dementia, it does represent a major risk factor for progression to Alzheimer’s disease.