Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Alzheimer's Disease Health Center

Font Size

B Vitamins No Help for Alzheimer's

Alzheimer's Patients Decline Despite High-Dose Folate, Vitamin B6/B12

B Vitamins, Homocysteine, and Alzheimer's

Folate (a form of vitamin B9), vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 reduce levels of homocysteine in the body. People with Alzheimer's disease tend to have high homocysteine levels. Moreover, evidence suggests that homocysteine makes the main ingredient in brain-clogging plaque -- amyloid -- more toxic.

There's no doubt that B vitamins lower homocysteine. In the Aisen study, Alzheimer's patients who took folate (5 milligrams/day), vitamin B6 (25 milligrams/day), and vitamin B12 (1 milligrams/day) had 31% lower homocysteine levels than patients taking placebo.

But that didn't seem to help -- at least among patients with no underlying vitamin deficiency.

"We were successful in lowering homocysteine, but it had absolutely no effect on the clinical symptoms of Alzheimer's disease," Aisen says.

Shao notes that patients in the Aisen study did not have particularly high homocysteine levels to begin with. He says the study has not answered the question of whether Alzheimer's patients with extremely high homocysteine levels might benefit from high-dose B vitamins.

It's time to move on, says Aisen, who serves as director of the Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study (ADCS) that investigates potential new Alzheimer's treatments.

"I think this study is the end of the treatment of Alzheimer's disease with these vitamins," he says.

The Aisen study, and an editorial by Clarke and colleague Derrick A. Bennett, PhD, appear in the Oct. 15 issue of TheJournal of the American Medical Association.

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

Remember your finger
When it’s more than just forgetfulness.
senior man with serious expression
Which kinds are treatable?
senior man
Common symptoms to look for.
mri scan of human brain
Can drinking red wine reverse the disease?
eating blueberries
Colored mri of brain
Close up of elderly couple holding hands
mature woman
Woman comforting ailing mother
Senior woman with serious expression