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Friday, 10 September 2010

Researchers favour vitamin B supplementation for warding off Alzheimer's Disease

See BBC News report. What a refreshing change to have medical researchers speaking in favour of vitamin supplements! All too often doctors intone that a balanced diet should provide all the nutrients necessary for health and so people shouldn't 'waste money' on nutritional supplements, despite the undoubted fact that many, many people benefit from taking vitamin and mineral pills. Healthy, fit professionals tend to forget that others may have difficulty eating because of ill-fitting dentures, for example, or may have difficulty shopping for food or problems in cooking it, etc.

It is such good news to learn that here is a positive step that can be taken against the increasing scourge of this feared disease that causes such great personal suffering, impaired quality of life and earlier death, and great economic cost to the nation. In the light of these research findings I personally intend to take more vitamin B6 and B12 and I'll think about more folate. And I certainly won't be going to see a GP for permission/encouragement to do so! since I do not yet lack the cognitive competence to recognise good sense when I read it!


  1. I fully share your enthusiasm for this study: the OPTIMA study from Oxford. Having said that the vehicle chosen, which was folic acid, B6 and B12 is not quite ideal and I would urge some caution. Folic acid is generally prescribed as a synthetic, whereas greater absorption is available from Folate. In fact folic acid is not a supplement I would take.
    Far better to lower homocystiene levels with Folate itself, or utilise the foodstuffs that contain it. The greatest source of all is liver, closely followed by green vegetable such as brocolli, aspargus etc. And high folic acid intake of more that 600 micrograms per day has been associated with type 2 uterine cancer.
    I would also add the caveat that this study had a very small cohort of 83, and no confounding factors are discussed, such as other nutrients that were included in the diet that were not divulged. It may well be that some other factor influenced the outcome that was not known such as high levels of Omega 3's in the diet. The size of the study is the real problem and the lowering of homocystiene, has been hailed before as the route to good heart health, lowering of stroke risk and others but then was shown as unproven.
    Not wishing to rain on the parade, I welcome this news, but with caution, and suggest care in the choice of vehicle for folate intake and restrict it to foodstuffs, together with a B6 and B12 vitamin as the best means.

  2. Thank you, blackdog, for that salutary note of caution.