B Vitamins and Cognitive Function in Aging Men.





Related Monographs

Consumer Data: Cognitive Function Folic Acid Vitamin B12
Professional Data: Cognitive Function Folic Acid Vitamin B12


Cognitive function is the term used to describe a person's state of consciousness (alertness and orientation), memory, and attention span. A mental status examination (MSE) is a standard test used by healthcare professionals to measure a patient's overall mental health. Evaluating a patient's cognitive function includes, first of all, measuring their level of alertness and orientation.

It is important to know that, or forgetting a person's name or phone number. In dementia causing illnesses such as Alzheimer's disease, the process continually worsens until the patient is unable to perform there is a difference between the normal aging process, and dementia. In normal aging, the loss of memory is slow and involves things like forgetting where objects are located normal activities of daily living. It is wise to talk to a doctor if you are unsure whether symptoms are due to aging, or due to another cause.

Increased levels of the amino acid homocysteine have been associated with impaired mental decline. One reason for increased homocysteine levels could be from inadequate vitamin B levels. Researchers recently investigated homocysteine levels as well as vitamin B12, B6 and folic acid in aging men. This study involved 321 men from the Veterans Affairs Normative Aging Study. Vitamin and homocysteine levels were recorded and cognitive function changes were evaluated after 3 years. The results showed that lower levels of folic acid, vitamin B12 and B6 were associated with cognitive impairment. Increased levels of homocysteine were also associated with decreased function. The authors concluded that, “Low B vitamin and high homocysteine concentrations predict cognitive decline.”1


1. Tucker KL, et al. High homocysteine and low B vitamins predict cognitive decline in aging men: the Veterans Affairs Normative Aging Study. AJCN. Sept 2005;82(3):627-35.