Dementia Prevention - B Vitamins and Omega 3

"The groundbreaking two-year study discovered a combination of B vitamins and omega-3 found in oily fish prevented brain shrinkage, a hallmark of the devastating condition that develops in 550 people a day in the UK.

The research has excited health experts worldwide and could lead to new public health advice on the treatment of early stage dementia using nutritional supplements.

Researchers analysed people over 70 who had memory problems. They found brain atrophy was slowed by 70 per cent in patients who had high levels of these nutrients.

Oxford professor David Smith, who lead the study, said: “This is a very exciting and important result. It is the first treatment to show Alzheimer’s related brain shrinkage can be prevented. It means that something so simple as keeping your omega-3 levels high and supplementing B vitamins if you are at risk could dramatically reduce a person’s risk.”

Prof Smith will meet government officials this month to discuss changing NHS practice so people with early memory loss are offered supplements. The specific B vitamins were B6, B12 and folic acid. “When people come to a memory clinic there’s nothing now that can help those showing signs of memory loss. Supplementation should be adopted across the NHS.”

10 Replies

  • Well I'm doing my best with salmon and B12..hope it works!

  • Me too Marre !


    Hope they do not forget to test for VitD as well :-)

  • Yes - another important one, Thanks for link Marz

  • I've been fascinated by the fact that, when my daughter and I take high dose D3, we have very vivid dreams of past friends. Jeff Bowles in his book, "the Miraculous Effect of very high doses of Vitamin D3..... ", reports that many readers have experienced this effect too. He writes in his book about old injuries and bones being remodelled. I'm wondering if it also heals the mind and old memories !

  • Seeing that we all know that lack of B12 puts us at risk of dementia, it seems to have taken a long time for the researchers to cotton on to this, but great news that they are getting there! Thanks for the link.

  • Yes, so frustrating Jalbey that it's taken all this time when the consequences are so catastrophic. My relative was wrongly diagnosed last year and, according to the following extracts from this research years ago, B12 deficiency should have been considered early on, yet our letters and pleas, along with BCSH NICE, UKNEQAS, guidelines and information on B12 def. diagnosis and treatment, were ignored and obstructed time after time. She finally received B12 injections and made a good recovery,


    "We attempt to define and quantify the cognitive impairment, identify any potentially reversible conditions and address comorbidities, such as vascular risk factors in hopes of preventing progression".

    "Laboratory testing should be considered to identify potentially reversible conditions that may mimic dementia. Early identification and aggressive management of such disorders may improve a patient’s thinking and daily function.

    It goes on to mention testing B12 specifically!

  • There are exit pathways for homosysteine , the stuff which causes lewy bodies to build up between the synapses in the brain and stop them firing normally . Detection of Lewy bodies are what usually get a diagnosis of dementia . The exit pathways are B6 , Folate , B12 and Choline . A deficiency of B12 can be caused by a number of things , such as intrinsic factor . Many people , particularly those with Northern European ancestry perhaps from Scandinavia ( many of us have Scandinavian ancestral D.N.A but just don`t realise it ) with blonde hair or blue eyes have a mutation on their gene which prevents them from producing intrinsic factor in their stomach , necessary for absorption of B12 . The Scandinavians did not grow wheat and so many people have wheat / gluten intolerance . It is my personal opinion that they picked up this mutation from the Neandertaals , who had managed to survive the ice age and obviously due to the icy terrain had no folates and would likely have very little meat and fish to eat and so would have very little B12 going in . Anthropologists who look at the bones of the Neandertaals have said that they had pitting in the bones at the back of the eye which would indicate an iron deficiency . Long term iron deficiency can actually alter DNA structure and compromise myelin composition , which is the sheath which surrounds nerve cells . As it becomes damaged , our own body does not recognise it and starts to attack it , as it does in MS . B12 is needed for iron metabolism and so the two deficiencies tend to go hand in hand .

    Nitrous Oxide gas switches off B12 synthesis , sometimes permanently . Recently in the U.S a state there wanted to use nitrous oxide gas to execute prisoners . The American Vetinary Association said that nitrous oxide gas is unsuitable for mammals !

    Another way that B12 is affected is with pharma drugs , many of which lower B12 levels , such as proton pump inhibitors ( Opremazole ) , anti depressants , anti biotics , antacids , metformin and a host of others .

    As a deficiency of B12 carries on , homosysteine levels would normally be expected to rise leading to Lewy bodies and dementia . Altzheimer and dementia patients have been found to have low levels of B12 .

    We need B12 , that`s the long and short of it but many people cannot convert it in their body due to inborn errors of metabolism . Doctors on the NHS are only allowed to prescribe Hydroxycobalamin which is an inactive form of B12 and is fine if you are able to convert it . If a person cannot convert it , Methylcobalamin is better and is already in a converted form , so the body in theory should take it in like paint on an old wall . It gets used up fairly quickly , especially if a person is doing a lot of exercise so needs to be replenished regularly . Many Scandinavians use Co Q10 with it because it helps absorption through the gut and helps to protect the heart .

    Just because an intrinsic factor test is negative , it does not rule out a deficiency . The British Committee for Standards in Haemotology for the treatment of Cobalamin and Folate Disorders advise that regardless of blood test results which are unreliable due to the sensitivity of the tests , if a patient is symptomatic , treatment should commence straight away to avoid any further neurological damage .

  • thank u for that most interesting & elucidating article. i'm wondering if there's a recognized higher incidence of PA in Scandinavian & northern populations i.e. Scottish/ Irish etc?? thank you.

  • Lots of interesting stuff there IWI - many redheads with blue eyes in our family!

    Hadn't heard about Scandinavians taking Q10 for better absorption either.

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