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Vitamin B May Not Aid Memory

Nov 13, 2014 11:01 PM EST
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Vitamin B has long been hailed as an essential part of daily regimen for a healthy brain. Numerous past studies have associated it with memory recall and fortitude. Now a new study disputes those claims, showing that B12 may not reduce the risk of memory loss.

The study, recently published in the journal Neurology detailed how researchers assed the memory fortitude of participants with high blood levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that has been associated with memory loss and Alzheimer's disease.

"Since homocysteine levels can be lowered with folic acid and vitamin B12 supplements, the hope has been that taking these vitamins could also reduce the risk of memory loss and Alzheimer's disease," study author Rosalie Dhonukshe-Rutten, PhD, of Wageningen University, the Netherlands, explained in a statement.

However in a two year assessment of nearly 3,000 study participants about 74 years of age, researchers found that the vitamin had no effect.

According to the study, the participants underwent a series of thinking and memory tests at the start and end of the study. Between these tests, they had been taking a daily regimen of supplemental B12 or a placebo.

Interestingly, the vitamin technically still did its job, but not to the desired outcome.

"While the homocysteine levels decreased by more in the group taking the B vitamins than in the group taking the placebo, unfortunately there was no difference between the two groups in the scores on the thinking and memory tests," said Dhonukshe-Rutten, where both groups boasted lower performance on their second test.

It's important to note that while this revelation may hurt sales of the vitamin as a preventative measure, it is still a proven supplemental treatment method for Alzheimer's disease after it has already onset. That's because the high concentrations of the  supplement can reduce volume loss in elderly, where brain atrophy is a serious consequence of Alzheimer's.

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