Vitamin B12 deficiencies have been discovered in people with
Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, and low levels of
folic acid are linked to intellectual deterioration. B12 and
folic acid aid in
cell formation and prevent nerve damage. Is there a direct
association between B12/folic acid levels and Alzheimer’s?
A study appearing in the May issue of Neurology sought
to determine whether low B12 and folic acid (or folate) levels
are risk factors for Alzheimer’s and dementia. Three hundred
and seventy subjects (75 years or older) were observed for
three years to record the number of cases of Alzheimer’s that
developed. Researchers analyzed data on subjects with high
and low levels of both B12 and folate, as well as subjects
with normal levels of one vitamin but not the other, to explore
the combined effects of the two vitamins.
Subjects with low levels of B12, folate or both had twice
the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, compared to those with
normal vitamin levels. This was even more likely in subjects
with good initial cognition. The authors of the study speculate
that vitamin deficiency may have an increased effect in the
earliest phases of Alzheimer’s.
Tips to help prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s:
- Eat plenty of raw spinach, peas, beans, brown rice and
other vegetables that are rich in folic acid;
- Remember that folic acid is destroyed when cooked, so
eat these vegetables raw; and
- Eat foods rich in B12, such as beef, fish, milk and eggs.
If you are a vegetarian, you will have more difficulty getting
enough B12, which is found almost exclusively in animal
tissues, but can obtain it from brewer’s yeast or supplements.
Reference: Wang HX,
Wahlin A, Basun H, et al. Vitamin B12 and folate in relation
to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Neurology
May 2001:56, pp 1188-1194.
For more information on vitamins & minerals, visit http://www.chiroweb.com/find/tellmeabout/nutrients.html