A few months back, I wrote a really long post about whether folic acid, the synthetic version of vitamin B9, might prevent or treat Alzheimer’s. The short answer was maybe not.
This fall, results of a University of California, San Diego trial of vitamins B9, B6 and B12 to treat Alzheimer’s added to the doubts about folic acid for treatment of memory problems.
In the 18 month trial, people diagnosed with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s who took high doses of these vitamins did no better on cognitive tests than those who took a placebo.
Because some studies had linked high levels of homocysteine in the blood to Alzheimer’s, scientists had hypothesized that high levels of that amino acid contributed to problems with memory and thinking. In this University of California study, the vitamin B treatments lowered homocysteine levels, but this did not help cognition.
Taking high doses of these vitamins may actually have side effects. “A higher quantity of adverse events involving depression was observed in the group treated with vitamin supplements,” the researchers reported.