24 Healing Options for any Illness

Vitamin B6

Along with other B vitamins, vitamin B6 is believed to help prevent Alzheimer's disease and other forms of age-related cognitive decline. Like vitamin B12, it is important to regulating the levels of homocysteine in the body. Homocysteine is harmful in large concentrations and is thought to play a role in the development of Alzheimer's. It is hoped that supplementing the diet with B6 and/or similar substances, the concentration of homocysteine can be brought down to a safer level.

Vitamin B6 also has antioxidant properties that are unrelated to its ability to regulate homocysteine. Antioxidants convey a number of health benefits, including the ability to fight off damaging chemicals in the brain that contribute to the development of neurodegenerative diseases. While the evidence for B6's benefits to those with dementia are not as strong as that for B12, the fact it conveys two separate beneficial activities to brain function makes it a promising option.

Scientific Studies:

While it has not gotten as much attention as vitamin B12, multiple studies have investigated the relationship between vitamin B6 and dementia and its potential role as a treatment. A study published in 2002 looked at the relationship between B6 levels, homocysteine levels, and the incidence of cerebrovascular disease in people with Alzheimer's. They found that unusually low levels of vitamin B6 were prevalent in people with Alzheimer's, and also reported a correlation between elevated levels of homocysteine and the development of cerebrovascular disease. They conclude their report by calling for future studies investigating vitamin B6 as a potential treatment for Alzheimer's.

In 2006, another study looked at the relationship between dietary intake of B6 and other B vitamins and the risk of developing Parkinson's later in life. The researchers found that "Higher dietary intake of vitamin B6 was associated with a significantly decreased risk of PD [Parkinson's]." While B6's effects on homocysteine could definitely be beneficial, they hypothesized that it was actually its antioxidant properties that accounted for most of its protective effect.

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