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Vitamin B No Help For Alzheimer's Patients

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Wednesday, October 15, 2008 11:24 AM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: FDA and Prescription Drugs, Vitamin B, Homocysteine, Alzheimer's Disease, Stroke, Dementia

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IMAGE SOURCE: © Wikimedia Commons/ progressive dementia patient/ author: Dr. Laughlin Dawes

New research has determined that vitamin B supplements do not slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

Researchers hypothesized that vitamin B might be beneficial in slowing down the progression of Alzheimer’s symptoms because the nutrient lowers blood levels of homocysteine.

Homocysteine, an amino acid produced by the body, is elevated in people with the disease and has also been linked to an increased risk of heart disease.

Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. An estimated 5.2 Americans are currently living with the disease.

Alzheimer's attacks brain cells, killing some and weakening the effectiveness of others. The most obvious symptom of Alzheimer's is the loss of memory and the associated inability to recognize friends and loved ones.

Usually the disease strikes slowly and the symptoms go unnoticed or are discounted. Eventually the victim has difficulty expressing thoughts and performing common activities.

The tangles and plagues associated with Alzheimer’s act as weeds that suffocate the healthy brain tissues causing it to die.

In a randomized study conducted on 409 patients diagnosed with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. Patients were assigned to one of three groups – to take vitamin B6 and B12 supplements, high doses of folate or a placebo for 18 months.

Researchers measured the rate of the cognitive decline using Alzheimer’s Assessment Scale.

The group taking vitamin B supplements showed no decrease in disease progression when compared to the placebo group.

“A regimen of high-dose vitamin B supplements does not slow down cognitive decline in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s,” states Paul S. Aisen, M.D. and colleagues of the University of California, Department of Neurosciences.

The study findings show homocysteine levels were successfully lowered, but, it did not translate into cognitive or clinical benefits, said Aisen. “In short, high dosages of vitamin B are not helpful in Alzheimer’s disease.”

Once Alzheimer’s disease is diagnosed in a patient, treating risk factors may not help to slow down the disease’s progression, in fact, it may prove harmful to the patient, says Dr. Greg M. Cole, Ph.D., a professor of medicine and neurology at the University of California.

This is yet another attempt to use high-vitamin dosages like drugs in the treatment and prevention of disease, Pamela Mason of Health Supplements Information Services, said in a news release. “Vitamin B supplements are not intended to combat or treat Alzheimer’s disease. They are health supplements and their role is to maintain good health. This study, like many others evaluating vitamins fails to address the issue of health maintenance.”

The study, “High-Dose B Vitamin Supplementation and Cognitive Decline in Alzheimer Disease,” is published online in the Oct. 15 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In another study, researchers suggest they may be one step closer to diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease while the patient is still alive, increasing the opportunity for treatment sooner.

A positive identification is typically not done until after death, when an autopsy can be conducted. While a patient is alive a series of tests may be given to determine brain decline, a less exact method of diagnosis. #


6 Comments

Anonymous User
Posted by De-bunk
Wednesday, October 15, 2008 12:05 PM EST

Vitamin B may not slow the disease progression but that does not mean they should/could not supply their body with the B vitamins. The title of yoru article is too broad,'Vitamin B of no help to Alzheimers," is like saying,"Seatbelts is of not use to car drivers."

Anonymous User
Posted by N W
Wednesday, October 15, 2008 12:15 PM EST

Who funded this study? A pharmaceutical company?

Jane Akre Injury Board Community Member
Posted by Jane Akre
Wednesday, October 15, 2008 12:34 PM EST

Editors Note* - Thanks for the astute question.

National Institute of Aging did the study.

See:
LINK

Anonymous User
Posted by Tannim
Wednesday, October 15, 2008 1:30 PM EST

What isn't addressed is the cause of Alzheimers, which is neural toxic heavy metal poisoning that cuts off and permamently damages neural transmitters and receptors in the brain. The symptoms match that of a geriatric ASD, and little study into the relationship between the physiological problems in the brain fro Alzheimers and toxic heavy metals have been studied yet, but it fits. It is that damage and the body's natural attempts to heal it that causes the plaques and tangles that are seen in Alzheimer's patients.

Homocysteine in the bloodstream reduced with B12, but that doesn't affect the brain at all. It does increase heart problem risks, however, and since it binds to proteins, can degrade bone, skin, and collagen. BTW, the homcsyteine is the primary cause of arterial damage, and that same naturla healing system causes scarring on the arterial walls, which the plaque clings to, causing blockages.

Moral of the story: eat natural right, exercise both bodyand mind, and boost the immune system.

Anonymous User
Posted by Jane Akre
Wednesday, October 15, 2008 4:00 PM EST

Under the heavy metal theory- wouldn't chelation of one's blood be helpful?

Anonymous User
Posted by Diane Copley
Thursday, October 16, 2008 11:59 AM EST

Dr. Paul Aisen is connected with Medivation, which developed the Alzheimer's drug, Dimebon, which Pfizer bought. Conflict of interest?

Comments for this article are closed.

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