Loss of memory and dementia is a common sign of brain aging. Brain shrinkage is blamed for memory problems in elderly people. Several studies have shown that memory problems, including Alzheimer’s disease could be prevented with the help of certain B vitamins. Memory problems could be arrested with the help of foods and supplements containing B vitamins.
B Vitamins Prevent Memory Loss
Nearly one in six people above the age of 70 suffer from mild memory problems. About one in every two people with mild cognitive impairment might develop dementia and Alzheimer’s disease within a few years. Degeneration of the brain cells and brain shrinkage are responsible for this condition.
On average, elderly individuals lose 0.5 per cent of their brain volume each year after the age of 60. However, the brain shrinkage rate is faster in people with mild cognitive impairment and dementia. People with mild cognitive impairment might experience nearly one percent loss in brain volume each year, whereas in Alzheimer’s disease patients the brain shrinks at a rate of 2.5 per cent per year.
According to an Oxford University study, folic acid, vitamins B6 and B12 could prevent mild cognitive impairment, which often precedes severe dementia. Researchers suggest that these B vitamins could halt brain shrinkage by lowering the homocysteine level in the blood.
Homocysteine is a type of amino acid, which is produced as a by-product of animal protein metabolism. High levels of homocysteine in the blood are associated with cognitive impairment. Folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 are needed to break homocysteine into harmless proteins.
In the Oxford University study, researchers observed that average rate of brain shrinkage slowed by 30 per cent in elderly people with mild cognitive impairment who took vitamin B supplements for two years. The higher is your intake of folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12, the lower is your risk of developing memory problems.
B Vitamins Prevent Memory Problem By Treating Depression
Chronic depression and emotional stress might worsen the memory problems in elderly people. Studies have shown that certain members of the vitamin B complex family could prevent depression by facilitating secretion of brain chemicals that regulate mood. Folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, niacin, thiamin and vitamin B5 are linked to healthy brain function.