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Vitamin B12, folic acid help prevent memory loss

Taking daily doses of vitamin B12 and folic acid for two years improves both short and long-term memory in pensioners, a new study has found.

health and fitness Updated: Jan 12, 2012 17:33 IST

Taking daily doses of vitamin B12 and folic acid for two years improves both short and long-term memory in pensioners, a new study has found.

“Vitamins may have an important role in promoting healthy ageing and mental wellbeing, as well as sustaining good cognitive functioning for longer on a community-wide scale,” the Daily Mail quoted Janine Walker as saying in an email.

Walker and her team of researchers from the Australian National University asked more than 700 people aged 60 to 74 years to take a daily dose of folic acid and vitamin B12, or placebo pills that resembled the vitamins.

The vitamin dose included 400 micrograms of folic acid and 100 micrograms of vitamin B12, and participants didn’t know which they were assigned to take.

The researchers said that the people taking part in the study showed signs of depression, but none had been diagnosed with clinical depression.

“We felt that older people with elevated depressive symptoms were an important cohort to target given evidence that late-life depression is associated with increased risk of cognitive impairment,” she said.

After 12 months, there seemed to be no difference between the groups in how well people scored on mental tests, including memory, attention and speed.

But after two years, those who took the vitamins showed more, if modest, improvement in their scores on the memory tasks.

The study has been published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.