Vitamins and Nutrient Information
B Vitamins, B3, B6, B12, & Folic Acid(B9):
B Vitamins Summary:
While B Vitamins are often grouped together, the vitamins which compose the "B Vitamin Group" are actually several distinct nutrients. Each B Vitamin serves a different role in the human body.
B Vitamins fulfill a wide range of roles in the human body, but certain B Vitamins have an especially important role in the human brain and nervous system. These roles vary from the production of energy for the brain to the protection of layer which insulates and protects nerves.
Below we examine the B Vitamins which have the most significant roles in the human brain as well as their relationship with Alzheimer's and dementia.
B Vitamins and the Brain:
One of B12's most important functions is to create, maintain, and repair the Myelin Sheath. The Myelin Sheath is the layer that covers and insulates nerve cells. It is required for nerves to communicate with each other. When the Myelin Sheath is damaged, as it is in Alzheimer's and dementia, nerve cells are not able to communicate. The result is a series of mental difficulties ranging from the inability to form new memories to difficulty communicating.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin):
Vitamin B3 is used in the creation and repair of DNA, the growth of nerve cells, and to create usable energy sources for the brain. B3 also helps repair the neurons of the brain and serves as a powerful antioxidant.
Vitamin B6 is used in the creation neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are the chemicals nerves use to communicate with each other. Similar to B3, B6 is also needed in for the metabolism of nutrients to create of fuel for the human brain.
Vitamin B9 (Folate or folic acid):
Vitamin B9 is essential for the creation of DNA and amino acids, two components needed for the healthy functioning of almost every system in the human body. Folic acid supplementation has also been found to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and several other serious illnesses.
The Evidence, Research & Studies:
Many studies have been conducted on B Vitamins, with more recent studies examining the relationship between B Vitamins and Alzheimer's and dementia. Below we examine a few.
University of Oxford:
Researchers at the University of Oxford conducted a randomized study on 156 individuals suffering from mild dementia. One group was assigned to take B6, B12, and Folic Acid, while the other group was assigned a placebo. After 24 months, MRIs were taken of the participant's brains and compared. Researchers noted that the group which did not take the B vitamins had significantly greater loss of brain tissue when compared to the group which did take B6, B12, And Folic Acid.
United States Center for Disease Control:
The United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a study of 6,000 Americans that examined if Vitamin B3 was linked to cognitive decline. The study was conducted over a 9 year period and that found lower intake of Vitamin B3 was linked to a greater risk of developing Alzheimer's. The CDC also found in the same study that higher-levels of Vitamin B3 slowed the rate of cognitive decline.
B Vitamins Review:
B Vitamins are essential components of numerous functions of the human body and brain. Vitamins B3, B6, B9, & B12 are required for the brain and human nervous system to function. B Vitamins are responsible for functions ranging from creating fuel the brain used to function to the creation and repair of critical parts of the human nervous system. Many studies have been done on B Vitamins, and while all of them do not agree, credible studies have shown the
Additional studies have been conducted in an effort to examine the mechanisms by which