Friday 24 November 2017
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Second study links B vitamins and Alzheimer's

New research on the link between B vitamins and Alzheimer’s disease has been published in the journal Neurology.
The seven-year study from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden found that people with a low concentration of vitamin B12 in their blood were more likely to develop Alzheimer's. It is known that homocysteine, a chemical in the blood which is correlated with Vitamin B12, is linked to Alzheimer's.

The scientists looked at blood samples from 271 Finnish people aged between 65 and 79 who did not have dementia at the start of the study. By the end of the research, 17 people had developed dementia. These people were more likely to have low Vitamin B12 levels or high homocysteine levels, although this was not a very strong link.

Alzheimer's Society comment:

'It is important to note that this study was not a clinical trial. However it does provide some observations that add weight to the idea that a treatment to lower the levels of homocysteine in the blood may be a useful approach to reducing the risk of dementia. We now need to see a larger trial in this area. However, we do not want to raise people's expectations as previous studies looking at B vitamins have proved unsuccessful.

'The best advice we can give people for reducing their risk of dementia is do plenty of exercise, eat healthily and get their blood pressure and cholesterol checked regularly. One in three people over 65 will die with dementia yet dementia research is drastically underfunded. We must invest more now.'

Professor Clive Balland
Director of Research
Alzheimer's Society