B vitamins may slow mental decline in elderly

B vitamin supplements may slow mental decline in elderly people with mild cognitive impairment, according to researchers from Oxford University.

Vitamin B supplementation could slow or prevent progression from mild cognitive impairment to dementia
Vitamin B supplementation could slow or prevent progression from mild cognitive impairment to dementia

Dr Celeste de Jager and colleagues gave 266 people aged over 70 either a placebo or a daily dose of 0.8 folic acid, 0.5mg vitamin B12 and 20mg vitamin B6.

The researchers found a significant benefit of B-vitamin treatment in episodic memory, semantic memory and global cognition (measured on the Mini Mental State Examination). The benefit was particularly pronounced in participants with high levels of homocysteine.

Writing in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry the researchers concluded: ‘Our data indicate that B vitamins may slow cognitive and clinical decline in participants with MCI, in particular in those who have high total homocysteine concentrations.’

Dr Celeste and her colleagues said further studies were now needed to see if vitamin B supplementation could slow or prevent progression from mild cognitive impairment to dementia.

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