B Vitamin, Omega-3 Combination May Slow Alzheimer's Brain Shrinkage

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Taking a combination of omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins may help significantly reduce brain shrinkage, a development that could aid Alzheimer’s disease treatment.

David Smith, PhD, founding director of the Oxford Project to Investigate Memory and Ageing in England, and colleagues examined 168 patients with early signs of dementia. The participants were randomized to receive either high-dose vitamin B supplementation or placebo.

In patients who had a high plasma concentration of omega-3 at baseline, the B vitamins slowed the mean brain atrophy rate by 40% compared with those who were on the placebo, the researchers reported in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Interestingly, B vitamin treatment had no significant impact on brain atrophy in subjects with low omega-3 plasma at baseline.

“It is the first treatment to show Alzheimer’s related brain shrinkage can be prevented,” Smith told the Daily Express. “It means that something so simple as keeping your omega-3 levels high and supplementing B vitamins if you are at risk could dramatically reduce a person’s risk.”

Smith also suggested that when early signs of dementia are seen, omega-3s and B vitamins should be given to patients, though he added they can also be taken as a preventative measure, along with a healthy lifestyle, even without symptoms

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B Vitamin, Omega-3 Combination May Slow Alzheimer's Brain Shrinkage
The authors of a study on Alzheimer's disease and other dementia presented at a conference last week say they've made a major breakthrough in treating the illness. The study shows vitamins halt the brain shrinkage that leads to memory loss.

The potentially groundbreaking study from the UK had been published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition previously but was only now presented at the just concluded four-day Alzheimer's Disease International Conference in Perth, Australia.

The lead author of the study, Prof. David Smith, said it is groundbreaking because it is the first time that such a simple method of avoiding Alzheimer's has been found.

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