The single, hottest nutritional discovery is that your risk of developing Alzheimer’s is strongly linked to your level of the toxic amino acid homocysteine, which can be measured from a pinprick of blood on a home test kit. The lower your level throughout life the smaller your chances of developing serious memory decline. Homocysteine is a neurotoxin, capable of directly damaging the medial temporal lobe, which is the area of the brain that rapidly degenerates in AD. Homocysteine is easily lowered with inexpensive B vitamins.
Having a higher intake and blood level of vitamin B12 and folic acid is associated with a quarter of the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Vitamin B6, B12 and folic acid, especially in combination, lower blood levels of homocysteine, which is a key predictor of risk. Lowering your homocysteine, if above 10mcmol/l, by supplementing high dose B6 (20mg), folic acid (800mcg) and B12 (500mcg) has been shown to greatly reduce the rate of brain shrinkage and memory loss in those at risk of Alzheimer’s. That is why it is VITAL to check your homocysteine level and, if above 10, speak with your doctor about supplementing high doses of B vitamins. Otherwise, supplement a daily multivitamin or B complex. B12 absorption can greatly worsen with age, and is inhibited by the diabetes drug metformin, and antacid ‘proton-pump inhibitor’ (PPI) medication. If you are taking these be sure your GP checks your homocysteine level.