Lack of B Vitamin Linked to Dementia

DAVIS, Calif., Aug. 22 (UPI) — An analysis of blood samples shows lower levels of folate — a B vitamin — was linked to symptoms of dementia and poor brain function, U.S. researchers say.

Nutritionist Lindsay Allen at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Davis, Calif., says it is known B vitamins — such as B-6, B-12 and folate aid — nourish the brain but how these vitamins and brain are related remains to be discovered.

Allen and study leader Mary Haan of the University of California, San Francisco, are investigating nutrients and decline in brain function using data from the multiyear Sacramento Area Latino Study on Aging. The study began in 1996 with nearly 1,800 Hispanic volunteers — ages 60-101.

The analysis of volunteers’ blood samples shows folate was linked to symptoms of dementia and poor brain function — impairments that were detectable even though less than 1 percent of the volunteers were actually deficient in folate.

Women, but not men, with low blood levels of folate were more than twice as likely to have symptoms of depression, also known to affect brain function, the researchers say.

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