Researchers Counter Study That Claims Vitamin B is Ineffective in Alzheimer’s Disease

Ana de Barros, PhD avatar

by Ana de Barros, PhD |

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shutterstock_152525405According to medical specialists, research published last year stating that Vitamin B does not prevent Alzheimer’s disease is misleading, causing patients in early stages of the disease to miss out a potentially valuable treatment.

Expert researchers and clinicians strongly criticized the previous study, saying that it is “inaccurate and misleading,” and are concerned that the claim can lead to negative effects on patients and biased future health policies and research funding.

In a letter to the Editor Dr. Peter Garrard from the Cardiovascular and Cell Sciences Research Institute at St. George’s University of London noted that previous data from clinical trials revealing the potential effect of vitamin B-12 and folic acid as potential prevention treatment for dementia was not mentioned in last year’s research downplaying the effectiveness of treating Alzheimer’s with Vitamin B.

Taking vitamin B has been found to lower the levels in the blood of homocysteine, a molecule that when in high concentrations acts as a risk factor for dementia. In the letter, Dr. Garrard explained that “the use of B vitamins confers both biological and neuropsychological benefits” in people who are older than 70 years and have experienced a recent cognitive decline. He further highlighted the need for a trial to test vitamin B as a potential treatment to avert cognitive deterioriton in indiviudals with or at high risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

In two letters to the editors of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Dr. Garrard along with Professor David Smith, a researcher at the University of Oxford, stated a number of research inconsistencies in the study in question, such as the fact that the data was taken from clinical trials for vascular disease prevention rather than in dementia prevention; the assessment instrument that was used (Mini Mental State Examination), a measure that is aimed to detect dementia but that cannot assess small cognitive alteration in normal samples; and the fact that the untreated patients did not have any cognitive decline, leading to an inappropriate assessment of the clinical benefits of Vitamin B in cognitive impairments or in dementia.

In these two new letters, the researchers hope to shed new light on the possible benefits of Vitamin B and put to rest previous claims that the supplement is