New analysis shows B vitamins have no benefit for memory

Reports in the news today suggest that B vitamins are unlikely to help prevent memory loss in old age.

Posted on 16th July 2014

Reports in the news today suggest that B vitamins are unlikely to help prevent memory loss in old age. The study, which has been published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, saw researchers analyse data from 11 clinical trials involving 22,000 people. After pooling all the data from these trials, the researchers concluded that the vitamin supplements were not able to stop declining memory in older people.

Dr Simon Ridley, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“Although one trial in 2010 showed that for people with high homocysteine, B vitamins had some beneficial effect on the rate of brain shrinkage, this comprehensive review of several trials shows that B vitamins have not been able to slow mental decline as we age, nor are they likely to prevent Alzheimer’s. While the outcome of this new and far reaching analysis is not what we hoped for, it does underline the need for larger studies to improve certainty around the effects of any treatment.

“Alzheimer’s is feared by many and it’s natural that people want to take action to try to prevent the disease, but people should always speak to their GP before changing their diet to include vitamin supplements. Research to understand how to prevent Alzheimer’s must continue, and in the meantime evidence shows that a number of simple lifestyle changes can help reduce the risk of the disease. Eating a healthy, balanced diet, taking regular exercise and keeping blood pressure and weight in check can all help lower the risk of Alzheimer’s.”

For more on this story, read our blog: In the news: B vitamins and Alzheimer’s disease.

Posted in Science news