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Future Health

B Vitamins

August 8, 2017 

One of the most important goals as we get older is to adopt healthy behaviors and strategies to protect and maintain our cognitive performance. Diet and aerobic exercise are important to this objective, and B vitamins can help.


A neuroscience study at the University of Oxford found that the normal aging process leads to “senior shrunken brain syndrome.” The goal of the study was to determine the ability of a vitamin cocktail to prevent or slow the onset of mild cognitive impairment or MCI. MCI is a medical condition that puts you at risk for dementia and depression.


Because the ingredients found in the vitamin cocktail are so easy to obtain from your local drugstore, it has been an appealing strategy to supplement companies and consumers.


The study used MRI scans to quantify changes in brain anatomy over a 2-year period, including changes to the total volume of grey matter. The group that received the placebo experienced 7 times more brain loss in key regions of the brain related to memory and cognitive skills. The group who took the cocktail showed little to no shrinkage or loss.


Now researchers have found it slows shrinkage of the areas vulnerable to dementia by as much as 90 per cent.


The researchers believe that the shrinkage is likely due to elevated blood plasma levels of a compound homocysteine that has been known for years to damage blood vessel walls such as those responsible for supplying oxygen to the brain. When artery walls and blood vessels are damaged in this way, they are less efficient in shuttling blood from the body to the brain. Because of the lack of blood flow, less oxygen is delivered to neurons of the frontal lobe. The vitamin formula significantly reduces homocysteine levels.


This formula is inexpensive to put together at home. The three ingredients are:

  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin B9 also known as Folic Acid


Since these vitamins also have various other health benefits, including increased energy and improved metabolism for healthy weight management, you can benefit from taking these as early as a late teenager or young adult. However, as always, we recommend that you consult your primary care physician before starting any new supplement.