London: Vitamin B supplements can reduce brain shrinkage associated with Alzheimer`s disease by up to 90 percent, a new Oxford study has claimed.
Consuming vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid can lower levels of homocysteine, an amino acid linked to shrinkage of the brain in conditions such as Alzheimer`s disease, reasearchers from Oxford University found.
Previous studies had shown that patients with mild cognitive impairment, a precursor to Alzheimer`s, suffered 50 percent less brain shrinkage overall if they took vitamin B supplements.
Researchers studied 156 patients and found that Vitamin B reduced shrinkage by 90 per cent in particular areas of the brain which are most vulnerable in Alzheimer`s patients.
The findings suggest that the vitamins could be even more protective than previously thought.
"Our work shows that a key part of the disease process that leads to Alzheimer`s disease, the atrophy of specific brain regions, might be modified by a safe and simple intervention," researcher Dr David Smith, who led the study, said.
"It is too early to know whether these effects mean someone is less likely to develop dementia in the long term. It is also not clear from other research in this area whether B vitamins would have any benefit for those who already have dementia," Dr Eric Karran, Director of Research at Alzheimer`s Research UK, said.
"Until further trials have confirmed these findings, we would recommend people think about eating a healthy and balanced diet. Controlling weight and blood pressure, as well as taking exercise, are also ways that we can help to keep our brains healthy as we get older," Karran added.
The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal.