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Home Industry News Folate ‘decreases dementia risk’

Folate ‘decreases dementia risk’

5th February 2008

Older people who have low levels of folate may have a threefold increased risk of developing dementia, a new study has warned.

At the start of the trial almost one-fifth of participants had high levels of homocysteine, while 17 per cent had low vitamin B12 levels and 3.5 per cent were folate deficient.

Writing in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, the researchers say the higher the levels of folate to begin with, the higher were vitamin B12 levels and the lower those of homocysteine.

Dementia was found to be more likely in those who were older, relatively poorly educated, inactive and had deposits of the protein ApoE.

People who were folate deficient to begin with were almost 3.5 times more likely to develop dementia.

The researchers argue that changes in micronutrients could be linked with the other typical signs that precede dementia, including weight loss.

Commenting on the findings, Alzheimer’s Society director of research Clive Ballard said: “This latest study is one further example of why it is so crucial for people to lead a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet rich in B vitamins and antioxidants.

“The findings add weight to growing evidence about the important role that dietary factors can play in preventing dementia, including the potential importance of Vitamin B12 and folate.”

He added that a clinical trial analysing a link between dementia and B12 and folate is ongoing, which the Alzheimer’s Society looks forward to “with great interest”.

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