Can the Progression of Alzheimer’s Be Slowed with Vitamin B?

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Millions of older adults live with Alzheimer’s. Efforts to find medications that reduce or reverse the cognition-impairing symptoms haven’t been fruitful. However, scientists believe certain B vitamins may prove useful in slowing the debilitating disorder’s progression.

About B Vitamins

Vitamin B consists of several substances commonly referred to as vitamin B complex. The nutrients often taken include: 

• B1 (thiamine) – 2 to 10 milligrams daily 
• B2 (riboflavin) – 5 to 10 milligrams daily 
• B3 (niacin) – 15 to 30 milligrams daily 
• B6 (pyridoxine) – 6 to 12 milligrams daily 
• B9 (folate) – 200 to 400 micrograms daily 
• B12 (cobalamin) – 12 to 100 micrograms daily 

Higher dosages may be taken while under the supervision of a physician. Vitamins B3 and B6 taken in higher doses have been known to reduce LDL cholesterol. Elevated cholesterol contributes to plaque formation, which impedes blood flow to the brain. Neuron function reduces, and seniors may develop cognitive impairment.

The days, weeks, and months following an Alzheimer’s diagnosis can be challenging for both seniors and their families. However, these challenges can be made less stressful with the help of caregivers trained in professional Alzheimer’s home care. Centennial Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one enjoy the golden years while simultaneously managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

The Oxford Study

Researchers from the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Oxford were interested in learning if B vitamins had any effect on seniors living with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia. Over the course of the study, the team monitored 150 older adults who exhibited mild dementia. Half the group received a vitamin B supplement, while the other half received placebos. The evaluation included imaging studies to assess brain shrinkage, which is known to occur as symptoms of cognitive impairment materialize. During the two-year study, all the volunteers exhibited atrophy in the brain. However, the seniors taking the B supplement had less shrinkage compared to the rest of the group.

The Laboratory of Molecular Gerontology Study

Scientists from the National Institute on Aging’s Laboratory of Molecular Gerontology performed a similar study. Their trial focused on the effects of vitamin B3 and the nutrient’s ability to influence DNA repair. Neurons affected by Alzheimer’s lose the ability to repair themselves via reproduction. The researchers knew vitamin B3 was responsible for maintaining the health of cellular mitochondria and stem cell renewal along with protecting neurons from stress. Their evaluation involved the effects of B3 in mice afflicted with a cognition-impairing disease process similar to Alzheimer’s. For three months, some of the animals received the nutrient in their water. After three months, the researchers found that the supplemented mice had brain tissue and memory function similar to healthy mice.

Helpful Vitamins

• Vitamin B3 – Niacin successfully reversed memory loss in laboratory animals affected by Alzheimer’s. The nutrient also enabled the affected brains to repair damaged DNA. The treated mice had fewer tau proteins in their brains. 

• Vitamin B12 – A cobalamin deficiency is known to cause cognitive impairment and brain atrophy. Seniors who don’t have enough of the nutrient have also been known to exhibit agitation and other behavioral changes. 

A trained professional caregiver can prepare nutritious meals and encourage your loved one to engage in cognition-boosting exercises. There are many reasons seniors might need assistance at home. Some may require regular mental stimulation due to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, while others might only need part-time assistance with exercise and basic household tasks. Home Care Assistance is a leading Centennial senior care provider. Families rely on our expertly trained caregivers to help their senior loved ones maintain a high quality of life.

Food Recommendations

Many common foods contain B complex vitamins. These options include: 

• Beans 
• Dairy products 
• Dark leafy green vegetables 
• Eggs 
• Fish 
• Fortified breads and cereals 
• Peas 
• Poultry 
• Red meat

If your loved one finds it challenging to get the necessary amount of vitamins and nutrients every day, consider bringing in a trained professional caregiver to help. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of home care. Centennial families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. We will work with you to create a customized home care plan that’s suited for your loved one’s unique needs. Call the Home Care Assistance team at (303) 957-3100 today.