Wednesday, January 26, 2011

B12 and Alzheimer disease!

The journal Neurology published an interesting article in October of 2010 regarding a study of the relationship of high homocysteine, low vitamin B12 and Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer disease (AD) has to be one of the most dreaded disease of all time. Of course we have all the Boomers coming of the age that makes and then it gets personal.

In the study mentioned here the authors started with 271 folks that were tested and found to be clear of AD. All were between the ages of 65 to 79 and also tested to be free of dementia as well.

The researchers measured homocysteine levels and vitamin B12 levels, as B 12 is one factor that helps lower homocysteine, the others are B6 and Flic acid, and followed the group for a period of seven (7) years. In that time frame 17 of the subjects developed Alzheimer's.

The researchers were monitoring B12 and homocysteine of these patients and the data correlated in the study indicated that for each micro molar ( very small )increase in homocysteine increased the risk of developing AD by 16%. Wow! And they found that for each pico molar (even smaller than the micro molar) increase in vitamin B12 the risk of AD decreased by 2%. They are on to something here!

Of course the researchers went on to say that homocysteine and vitamin B12 may have something to do with Alzheimer's. I don't know about you, but I can read and extrapolate data myself and I think there is a definite correlation. And of course, the researchers went on to say more research was needed. Fair enough.

If you go by the guide lines for laboratory testing for homocysteine most labs state the range as 5 to 15. We have always suggested keeping it below 8 and now we more reason to do just that. On the B12 most labs use the range of ~250 to 950. Here we suggest that you want to be at least 800 or higher. Just because you fall in range, above 250 or so, does not mean that you are safe, especially when it comes to AD.

Make sure your doctor is checking these levels in your yearly check up. If he or she wont do that for you give us a call and we can arrange that for you.

Stay healthy!
Dr. Jim

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