Washington: The vitamin, folic acid, a B vitamin, can help the over-50s improve their memory, scientists claim.
Taking a daily supplement of the vitamin can help slow mental decline, a study has shown.
It raises the possibility that the acid might help to keep Alzheimer’s at bay or reduce the symptoms.
The news adds to mounting evidence-that the vitamin plays an important role in preventing or alleviating a range of disorders.
Folic acid is already recommended for pregnant women to reduce the risk of brain and spinal cord defects in their unborn child.
Research also suggests it may ward off heart disease and strokes.
In the latest study, Dutch scientists tested whether otherwise healthy people could slow age-related deterioration in memory by taking a daily dose.
More than 800 volunteers aged 50 to 75 took either a vitamin containing 800 micrograms of folic acid a day, or a dummy pill, for three years.
Those taking folic acid had better memories, equivalent to that of a person more than five years younger. Lead researcher Jane Durga, of Wageningen University, released details of the study at a meeting of the U.S. Alzheimer’s Association in Washington.
The study involved healthy older people who did not have Alzheimer’s symptoms, so there is no indication whether it might help sufferers. ‘That’s the key question,’ she said.
Folic acid is found in such foods as oranges and strawberries, dark green leafy vegetables and beans. In the U.S., it is also added to cereal and flour products and pressure has been building for national fortification of foods in Britain. That is currently under consideration by an advisory committee to the Government.
The recommended daily dose is 0.4mg and doctors advise women of childbearing age to take a supplement to ensure they get that much.
Read more on research,drugs and supplements at this link to the Life Extension Foundation: