B vitamins and the aging brain

Authors

  • Jacob Selhub,

    Corresponding author
    1. Jean Mayer United States Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
      J Selhub, 711 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111, USA. E-mail: Jacob.selhub@tufts.edu, Phone: +1-617-556-3191, Fax 617-556-3166.
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  • Aron Troen,

    1. Jean Mayer United States Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
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  • Irwin H Rosenberg

    1. Jean Mayer United States Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
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J Selhub, 711 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111, USA. E-mail: Jacob.selhub@tufts.edu, Phone: +1-617-556-3191, Fax 617-556-3166.

Abstract

Deficiencies of the vitamins folate, B12, and B6 are associated with neurological and psychological dysfunction and with congenital defects. In the elderly, cognitive impairment and incident dementia may be related to the high prevalence of inadequate B vitamin status and to elevations of plasma homocysteine. Plausible mechanisms include homocysteine neurotoxicity, vasotoxicity, and impaired S-adenosylmethionine-dependent methylation reactions vital to central nervous system function. In light of this, it is imperative to find safe ways of improving vitamin B status in the elderly without exposing some individuals to undue risk.

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