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B vitamins, cognition, and aging: a review

Author

Calvaresi E, Bryan J

Date

11/2001

Journal

J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci

Abstract

Recent research has highlighted the potential impact of nutritional factors and individual micronutrients on the brain and on cognitive performance, especially in older adults. The B vitamins, folate, B12, and B6, are of particular interest because even subclinical deficiencies in these vitamins are thought to be relatively common in the general population and in older adults in particular. Recent cross-sectional and longitudinal studies have provided evidence for an association between these B vitamins and many aspects of cognitive performance and have raised the possibility that even subclinical differences in nutritional status may have a subtle influence on aspects of cognitive performance, especially in older adults and in clinical populations. Preliminary evidence also indicates the effectiveness of supplementation in enhancing cognitive performance in older adults. Important considerations for future research include the use of placebo-controlled intervention studies, sensitive outcome measures of cognitive performance, and exploration of bioavailability and dose-response relationships.

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