Don't forget your vitamins - Food for the Brain

Don't forget your vitamins



A study giving B vitamins to people with cognitive impairment and a high level of a blood marker for B vitamin status called homocysteine (raised in half of people over age 60) reported almost 9 times less shrinkage in the areas of the brain associated with Alzheimer’s and more than 70% less brain shrinkage overall in those given B vitamins (B6 20mg, folic acid 800mcg and B12 500mcg) versus placebo –  as long as they had adequate blood levels of omega-3 fats found in oily fish. Those with low blood levels of omega-3 didn’t derive benefit from the extra B vitamins. That’s why it is important to make sure you are getting enough B vitamins ad omega-3 fats both from diet and supplements. Two in five people over 61 have insufficient B12 to prevent accelerated brain  shrinkage, often due to poor asbsorption, not dietary deficiency (B12 is in animal products).

Read more about how to protect your brain with vitamins and omega-3 fats here:


Douaud G, Refsum H, de Jager CA, Jacoby R, Nichols TE, Smith SM, et al. Preventing Alzheimer’s disease-related gray matter atrophy by B-vitamin treatment. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013; 110: 9523-8.

 Jernerén F, Elshorbagy AK, Oulhaj A, Smith SM, Refsum H, Smith AD. Brain atrophy in cognitively impaired elderly: the importance of long-chain ω-3 fatty acids and B vitamin status in a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Jul;102(1):215-21. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.114.103283. Epub 2015 Apr 15. PMID: 25877495.

Vogiatzoglou A, Refsum H, Johnston C, Smith SM, Bradley KM, de Jager C, Budge MM, Smith AD. Vitamin B12 status and rate of brain volume loss in community-dwelling elderly. Neurology. 2008 Sep 9;71(11):826-32. doi: 10.1212/01.wnl.0000325581.26991.f2. PMID: 18779510.