In brief: Three Bs for the brain

In brief

Three Bs for the brain

Two studies published in the September 2005 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition add to the evidence that B vitamins may help us keep our wits.

Investigators in Boston followed 321 older men (average age: 67) for three years. They found that men with higher levels of vitamin B6, B12, and folate (a type of B vitamin) in their blood and in their diets did better on a test designed to measure spatial thinking.

In the other study, Italian investigators collected the blood test results for 816 older people. After about four years, 112 of them had developed dementia, including 70 diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. The researchers looked at the blood tests and found that those who had started with higher concentrations of folate were less likely to have suffered cognitive decline.

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