Low Levels of Vitamin B6 Associated With Cognitive Decline
Cognitive decline is a serious problem for many people as they age, and can range from mild cognitive impairment to dementia. A recent study suggests that low vitamin B6 intake may be associated with cognitive decline in mature adults.
Participants in the study included 155 people with a mean age of 70 who were majority female, well-educated, and reported a low rate of depression. Additionally, 75% of the participants regularly consumed foods that were fortified with B vitamins.
The participants had been previously screened for cognitive decline. They were reassessed four years later using the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE). 27% of the participants showed a greater than expected rate of cognitive decline.
After adjusting for age and baseline MMSE score, the researchers found that the participants with the lowest vitamin B6 status at the beginning of the study were 3.5 times more likely to have a higher rate of cognitive decline at the four year follow-up period than those with the highest vitamin B6 levels. They also noted that both people with deficient levels and those with clinically sufficient levels showed decline.
The researchers did not find any links between other types of vitamin B and cognitive decline.
Researchers from Ulster University, Causeway Hospital, and Trinity College Dublin — all in Ireland — conducted the study. It was published on January 1, 2017, in the journal Nutrients.
Previous studies have found a link between vitamin B6 and reductions in the risk of stroke, birth defects and hearing loss. B6 also plays an important role in many essential functions in the human body ranging from nervous system function to red blood cell formation.
While a supplement is a good way to get your B vitamins, they are also present in various foods including broccoli, asparagus, potatoes, tuna and salmon. You can also buy milk and flour products that are fortified with B vitamins.