Patients who are at risk for developing Alzheimer's disease (AD) may find that adding vitamin B12 to their diet could help reduce their chances of experiencing memory loss, according to a new study published in Neurology.
Researchers used blood samples from 271 Finnish people between 65 and 70 years old. None of the participants had dementia when the study began.
The subjects were followed for seven years. Seventeen of them developed AD during the course of the study. Blood samples were then taken from these individuals and were tested for the amino acid homocysteine, which is associated with vitamin B12 as well as an active portion of the vitamin, called holotranscobalamin.
Previous studies have already indicated that high amounts of homocysteine in the blood can have negative effects on the brain. However, these levels can be lowered with vitamin B12.
For the current study, the scientists discovered that increasing the active form of vitamin B12 may reduce the risk for developing AD.
Babak Hooshmand, the study's lead author, said that although more research needs to be conducted, vitamin B12 could be used as a "supplement to help protect memory." Individuals could consume foods that contain this vitamin, such as fish and poultry.