B vitamins 'stave off Alzheimer's disease'
Elderly people could stave off Alzheimer's disease by taking supplements of B vitamins, after they were found to reduce the brain shrinkage associated with the disease by up to 90 per cent, an Oxford University study has suggested.
Vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid can lower levels of homocysteine, an amino acid linked to shrinkage of the brain in conditions such as Alzheimer's disease. Previous studies have shown that patients with mild cognitive impairment suffered 50pc less brain shrinkage overall if they took B vitamins.
However, the new study of 156 patients by researchers at Oxford University, published in the 'Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences', found that shrinkage was reduced by 90pc in areas of the brain most vulnerable in Alzheimer's patients.
Dr David Smith said: "Our work shows that a key part of the disease process that leads to Alzheimer's disease, the atrophy of specific brain regions, might be modified by a safe and simple intervention."
However, experts have cautioned against drawing any firm conclusions from the "early" results and said a balanced diet and exercise "can help to keep our brains healthy as we get older". (© Daily Telegraph, London)