There probably is a link between dementia and high blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine. The B vitamins help metabolize and lower homocysteine levels. There probably is a link between low B levels with high homocysteine and higher dementia risk.
The evidence came from the University of Oxford where researchers divided more than 270 elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) into two groups. For two years, one group took placebos while the other group took daily supplements of folic acid (0.8 mg), vitamin B-12 (0.5 mg), and vitamin B-6 (20 mg). Nearly 170 subjects agreed to have cranial MRI scans at the beginning and end of the study. This allowed the Oxford team to track brain atrophy. As they note in their study, accelerated brain atrophy is common in patients with MCI who later develop Alzheimer’s. Results: Brain atrophy progression was significantly slower in the B supplement group. Subjects with a greater rate of atrophy also had lower cognitive test scores than supplement subjects.
Taking additional B vitamins will help you keep your cognitive health intact. But taking extra B supplements is just a start. Other research shows that daily exercise combined with several key supplements will help prevent brain atrophy and delay the onset of Alzheimer’s.