London: Want to stave off Alzheimer`s disease? Pop a vitamin pill daily, for a new study says that it could dramatically slow the onset of memory loss in old age and protect against the most common form of dementia.
In their study, researchers at Oxford University have found that the vitamin pill, containing high doses of B vitamins and folic acid, reduced memory decline by 70 per cent in some elderly people.
It also halved the rate of brain shrinkage in some patients -- a physical symptom associated with forgetfulness that can lead to full blown Alzheimer`s disease, `The Daily
Dr Celeste de Jager, who led the study, said the trial had "definitively" shown that the vitamins were a good way of preventing mental decline.
"A lot of the time brain changes start in your forties and fifties before you get clinical symptoms. I would think that in middle age people should start thinking about their vitamin levels," she said.
People should not begin taking supplements without consulting their doctor because they can have a harmful impact on other conditions such as cancer, she added.
The new treatment targets a compound in the bloodstream called homocysteine which is produced naturally by the body but reaches higher levels in old age. It damages the lining of blood vessels and leads to shrinkage of the brain, causing an increased risk of Alzheimer`s, and stroke and heart disease.