One of the most comprehensive studies ever conducted to examine potential benefits of giving high-dose vitamin B supplements to Alzheimer’s patients has failed to demonstrate any significant benefits. In fact, the study indicates patients taking the vitamin supplement were more likely to experience symptoms of depression than Alzheimer’s patients taking only a placebo.

Saying previous studies didn’t last long enough or incorporate enough study participants to be conclusive, Paul S. Aisen, MD, enlisted 409 Alzheimer’s patients whose disease was diagnosed as mild to moderate, to be part of his 18-month-long study using vitamin B6, B12, and folic acid (B9). Sixty percent (202 individuals) of the Alzheimer’s patients received high-dose vitamin supplements and 40% (138) received placebos. The Alzheimer Disease Assessment Scale (ADAS-cog) was administered to measure cognitive ability.

Unfortunately, there was no significant improvement in cognitive abilities seen in the test group but symptoms of depression were more common in this group than in the placebo group. Aisen says the study indicates the B-vitamin supplementation is of no value in treating Alzheimer’s patients who get an adequate supply of the vitamins from dietary sources.

Aisen, a University of California, San Diego (UC-San Diego), neurosciences professor who also serves as director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study (ADCS), has published the results of this study in the current issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The consortium, ADCS, headquartered at UC-San Diego, includes more than 50 research institutes throughout the United States and Canada. The National Institute on Aging, a branch of the National Institutes of Health, funded the study.

Source: University of California – San Diego