Niacin in Diet May Prevent Alzheimer's
Study: Mental Decline Slows as Dietary Niacin Increases
July 14, 2004 -- People who get enough niacin in their diet cut
their risk of Alzheimer's disease by 70%, a new study shows.
Martha Clare Morris, PhD, of the Rush Institute for Health
Aging in Chicago, and colleagues studied 3,718 65-and-older residents of three
south Chicago neighborhoods for more than five-and-a-half years. They also
performed clinical tests on 815 of these people over four years.
They found that those who got the least niacin were 70% more
likely to develop Alzheimer's disease than those who got higher amounts. Those
who got the most niacin in their diets had much slower mental decline than
those who got the least niacin.
"We observed a protective association of niacin against the
development of Alzheimer's disease and cognitive decline within normal levels
of dietary intake," Morris and colleagues conclude. Their report appears in
the August issue of the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and
Foods rich in niacin include:
People who get dangerously little niacin in their diets develop
a disease called pellagra. Pellagra usually isn't seen in people who get at
least 11 mg of niacin a day. In the Morris team's study, the group at the
lowest niacin level was getting a median 14 mg a day in diet and in vitamin
supplements. The current recommended daily allowance for niacin is 16 mg per
day for men and 14 mg per day for women.
Benefits of higher niacin intake began in men and women at a
median intake of 17 mg per day. Those at the study's highest niacin level were
getting 45 mg per day in diet and supplements.