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Alzheimer's Prevention and Other Benefits of B Vitamins

Updated on May 21, 2013
Vitamins and nutrition are important for avoiding dimentia.
Vitamins and nutrition are important for avoiding dimentia. | Source

B Vitamins Are Strong

B vitamins are important to overall human health and I learned how important they are on my first full-time job. Even though this was an "office job", the work required me to be on my feet all day and overtime work began almost immediately upon employment, In this manner, I went from a part-time libary worker of 15-20 hours per week to 50 hours per week on my feet, carrying heavy boxes of files, reorganizing shelving in a busy insurance company, and assorted other duties. In addition, I walked 1.6 miles to and from work each day. It was good exercise, but within six months, I had a Vitaminn B deficiency and my physician administered a B-12 injection that worked pretty quickly. This and dietary changes helped a lot.

The range of B viatmins can do even more than keep a person energetic and on her feet, working!

UK Vitamin B 2-Year Study Results, 2013

In England in the UK, the National Academy of Sciences in 2013 found that participants in a long term study that received B vitamins were almost completely protected against brain shrinkage that was suffered by people in the control group that received a placebo. Shrinkage was 0.6% vs. 5.2% between groups or 5.2/0.6 = 87% difference. Reference:here. This aided in the problem of memory deficits and family members noticed a positive difference in their members who took B vitamins in the study. They also noticed a negative difference if the persons stopped taking the B vitamins.

All this is good news, because a shrinking brain is a risk factor for Alzheimer's Disease in adults.

You might recall the incidence in 1980s Romania in which researchers and health service volunteers found an orphanage full of babies and young children with shrunken brains related to lack of food and stimulation. Vitamin B administration was one of the treatments that helped many of these children to recover greatly.

You may also recall a television movie from around the same time, starring Art Carney as a senior citzien whose family committed him for mental health problems that included syptos of Alzheimer's, when the actual problem was his prescribed medications.

At the same time, another story came to light in magaines, about an older man whose family was about to commit him for mental incapacities, until they and doctors found that his diet consisted only of saltines and grape jelly. A remedy to his diet, including B-complex and other vitamins, protein, and vegetables, along with a little human follow-up, saved his life.

Vatimins are pretty incredible and important.

The vitamins most protective against brain shrinkage in the Oxford University study mentioned above are B6, B12, and Folic Acid.

Oxford Univerity

A markerOxford University, UK -
University Of Oxford, University Offices, Wellington Square, Oxford, OX1 2JD, UK
get directions

Questions and Suggestions

While the Oxford University study used brain scans via MRI during two years of treatment and non-treatment (placebo) groups, only gray matter (shrinkage) was measured, but not white matter. White matter in the brain increases after about age 40 and helps the individual to make better and greater numbers of connections among information already held in the brain and incoming information as well. I think white matter should be measured as well in the net study.

The B vitamins given to the treatment group with sucess (Cost - 30¢ per day):

  • 0.5 milligrams of Vitamin B12
  • 20 milligrams of vitamin B6
  • 0.8 milligrams of Folic Acid

Important! - Lead researcher David Smith is listed as the inventor on three separate patents owned by Oxford University in England for B vitamin cocktails for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. The research is called VITACOG and is ongoing with a partnership with a vitamin producer in sweden. Reference here.

Questions - Will the USA be able to use the vitamin mix in a treatment cocktail for pre-Alzheimer's patients, or not? Can a mix of vitamins actually be patented? -- Isn't that rather like the list of ingredients in a recipe, which list cannot be copyrighted?

Who does the cocktail of B vitamins probably help the most? - Senior citizens ages 70 and older that show high blood levels of homocysteine, but do not have Alzheimer's - they may, indeed, have some memory problems. Further studies are needed, Oxford University reports that they have the largest library of human brain scans in the world, but funding for a new study may be hard to obtain.

Places of Reference

show route and directions
A markerOxford University -
University Of Oxford, University Offices, Wellington Square, Oxford, OX1 2JD, UK
get directions

B markerWorld Health Organization -
Avenue Appia 20, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland
get directions

C markerUS National Institutes of Health -
National Institutes of Health, 6610 Rocklege Dr # 31111, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA
get directions

D markerMayo Clinic, Minnesota -
Mayo Clinic, 200 1st Street Southwest, Rochester, MN 55905, USA
get directions

Helpful Properties of B Vitamins

B vitamins are important in the process of deriving and using the energy from foods people eat (National Institutes of Health).

Vitamin B6 - This vitamin has been used in alternative medicine circles as a replacement for anti-anxiety drugs. It prevents anemia.

  • Too much B6 ingestion damages nerves of the arms, hands, legs and feet.

Vitamin B12 - This vitamin helps to keep nerve cells and blood cells healthy and is beneficial to memory. it prevents anemia.

  • Difficult to overdose.

Folic Acid - Very important to the fetus, this substance prevents Spina Bifida and underdevelopmnt of the brain in newborns. In adults, it seems to help memory in UK studies.

  • OIverdose causes tingling/numbness in toungue, lips; possible weakness, confusion, fatigue.

Food Sources for these vitamins include: proteins, leafy green vegetables, beans, peas, and fortified cereals, flours, and breads. Some sources state that the UK does not have the fortified flours, breads, or cereals.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Beans and eggsLeafy!PeasVitamin fortified breads are great!
Beans and eggs
Beans and eggs | Source
Leafy! | Source
Peas | Source
Vitamin fortified breads are great!
Vitamin fortified breads are great! | Source

High-Dose Vitamins

Some viatmins in high doses can be dangerous to health and life. However, Norman Cousins, now deceased, made health history by curing his own rheumatic arthiritis-like condition with large doses of vitamins and laughter. He had been a magazine editor in New York and after his cure, he also became an adjunct professor in at last one medical college, teaching students what he had learned on his own. He had progessed from imminent death to vibrant health and a return to work with a regimen of vitamins, healthy foods, laughter, and exercise. He and his story were rthe basis for books, films, TV productions, and college classroom lectures from the 1980s to the end of the 1990s. The Rehab Division of the Ohio Industrial Commission used his books and methods in physical therapy and pain management with Workers Compnsation clients, with great results.

Thus, vitamins are important in an overall healthcare regime. They won't cure or prevent Alzheimer's Disease alone, but they surely can help.

All this is to the good; however, high doages of some vitamins can cause damage to the human body and should be recommended only by qualified medical/alternative medicine practitioners.

Quote From the World Health Organization, April 2012

Worldwide, nearly 35.6 million people live with dementia. This number is expected to double by 2030 (65.7 million) and more than triple by 2050 (115.4 million). Dementia affects people in all countries, with more than half (58%) living in low- and middle-income countries. By 2050, this is likely to rise to more than 70%.--



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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 4 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Thanks for that testimony about B vitamins, prairieprincess. They can surely help a number of disorders nd I am glad to hear that your Mom received so much help from them.

    • prairieprincess profile image

      Sharilee Swaity 4 years ago from Canada

      Patty, very interesting article. I will tell you my experience with Vitamin B. When I was quite small, my Mother suffered what they called then a nervous breakdown, brought on by considerable stress. She went to the doctor, and asked for some meds. The doctor told her that she did not need medication, but that she should start taking B Vitamins. She did so for the rest of her life, and credited B Vitamins for helping to heal her mind, and keep her mind strong. I find that I need Vitamin B, too, to feel my best.

      Thanks for sharing such important information. I was not aware of the connection to Alzeimer's but it does make sense.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 4 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Thanks for all the new comments, ratings, and sharing! I appreciate all your input. Vitamins are really important, but my doctor still says to get them from food. However, it larger doses can help prevent or cure disease without harming us, I think we should use them. I'd still have the doctor monitor it, though.

    • Kevin Peter profile image

      Kevin Peter 4 years ago from Global Citizen

      The importance of B Vitamins in our health is described well in the hub. Very interesting points. You have also included the details of continuing research on this field. Thanks a lot for this wonderful hub.

    • tebo profile image

      tebo 4 years ago from New Zealand

      A very interesting article. I didn't realize B vitamins were so important in the fight against alzheimers. It is also interesting that the effects of this disease can be reduced by adding these vitamins to your diet. Thanks for an interesting article.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      Excellent information! A hub everyone should read. Will share.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 4 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      SidKemp - I started paying attention to B vitamins after that B-12 shot worked so well. I hope my brain is prevented from much shrinkage. You are right about the unneeded expense!

      breakfastpop - You are so witty! I think NASA is working on Waistline Shrinko as we speak.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 4 years ago

      Great and helpful article that is voted up interesting, useful and awesome. The last thing I want is a shrinking brain. I wouldn't mind a shrinking waistline!

    • SidKemp profile image

      Sid Kemp 4 years ago from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach)

      It is sad that, after we've known about these vitamins for about 100 years, we still have people suffering from deficiencies even in stable countries that have vitamins available in every drugstore.

      It is also sad that, in the US, if we don't patent a solution and make it expensive so that the drug companies profit from it, it will not be likely to be used widely.

      Prevention now becomes an individual solution, not supported by the medical establishment. It is supported by sharing and education - so thank you, Ms. Inglish, for helping us all to be healthy!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 4 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Luckily, I like the foods containing B vitamins, so I think I've been lucky! How about you? - Do you like things like lean protein, beans, leafy vegetables?

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      Excellent article here. Well, we ALL should take heed to take our B vitamins no doubt!

      Thanks for the insightful hub here.

      Voted up +++

      Blessings, Faith Reaper

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

      So interesting to learn about continuing research on B vitamins. Thanks for highlighting important info in this hub.