Scientists from Capital Medical University and elsewhere found vitamin B supplements linked to slower cognitive decline and lower dementia risk.
Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning — thinking, remembering, and reasoning — to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities.
Some people with dementia cannot control their emotions, and their personalities may change.
The B group of vitamins include thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), biotin (B7), folate (B9) and cyanocobalamin (B12).
The ‘B-group’ or ‘B-complex’ of vitamins make up 8 out of 13 essential vitamins and are all water-soluble (dissolves in water).
The B vitamins help enzymes in our bodies do their jobs and are important for a wide range of cellular functions, like breaking down carbohydrates and transporting nutrients throughout the body.
The B vitamins play an interrelated role in keeping our brains running properly.
Whether B-vitamin supplementation can benefit cognitive function is still unclear.
In the current study, the team aimed to examine whether B vitamin supplementation can reduce the risk of cognitive decline and risk of dementia.
They reviewed studies in which B vitamins were supplied to investigate their effect on the rate of cognitive decline and studies investigating dietary intake of B vitamins and the risk of incident dementia.
The team reviewed a total of 95 studies with 46175 participants.
The finding supports that B vitamins can benefit cognitive function, and this result was also strong in studies where placebo groups developed cognitive decline. This suggests that B vitamins slow cognitive decline.
The researchers also found that B vitamin supplementation for longer than 12 months could decrease cognitive decline compared to placebo.
In the non-dementia population, B vitamin supplementation slowed cognitive decline compared to placebo; this outcome was not found for the dementia population.
Lower folate levels (but not B12 or B6 deficiency) were strongly linked to higher risks of dementia and cognitive decline.
The team found among the population without dementia aged 50 years and above, the risk of incident dementia was strongly decreased among individuals with a higher intake of folate, whereas a higher intake of B12 or B6 was not linked to lower dementia risk.
Based on the findings, the team suggests that B vitamin supplementation is associated with slowing cognitive decline, especially in people who received early intervention and intervention of long duration.
The study also suggests that a higher intake of dietary folate, but not B12 or B6, is associated with a reduced risk of dementia in non-dementia older people.
The team says public health policies should be introduced to ensure that people with a high risk of dementia can have an adequate B vitamin status.
The research was published in Nutrition Reviews and conducted by Zhibin Wang et al.
If you care about nutrition, please read studies about the best time to take vitamins to prevent heart disease, and the MIND diet could slow down cognitive decline after stroke.
For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies about antioxidants that could help reduce the risk of dementia, and how vitamin supplementation may affect the dementia risk.
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