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B Vitamin Supplementation May Slow Cognitive Decline

The natural mental decline that comes with aging can be scary, but a recent study from researchers at the Australian National University suggests that vitamin B12 and folic acid may slow down the process.

The findings were published in the January 2012 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The two year trial included a group of individuals who took a daily supplement of 400 mcg of folic acid and 100 mg of vitamin B12 and one group who took a placebo. The researchers then tested cognitive function after one year and two years.

The researchers found that after two years, the supplement group had significantly improved total, immediate and delayed memory recall when compared to placebo group. They did not note any changes, however, in orientation, attention, semantic memory, processing speed, or informant reports.

Studies have shown that long term deficiencies in vitamins such as B12, folate and niacin can lead to more rapid deterioration in cognitive functions, and possibly play a role in the development of dementia.

As our bodies do not naturally synthesize B vitamins, the best way to increase your intake of these important vitamins is by eating more vitamin B rich foods or taking a quality supplement. Some foods rich in B vitamins include broccoli, asparagus, potatoes, tuna and salmon. Additionally, many milk and flour products are also fortified with B vitamins.

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