The study was conducted on mice, not people. But clinical trials on humans are under way.
Researchers from the University of California, Irvine dissolved nicotinamide in drinking water and fed it to mice with Alzheimer's. The researchers found that nicotinamide prevented mental deficits in mice with Alzheimer's. It also seemed to improve short-term memory of mice without Alzheimer's.
The study was published in the Journal of Neuroscience.
Nicotinamide may help Alzheimer's in mice by affecting the protein which makes up one of the lesions that is characteristic of Alzheimer's disease.
Nicotinamide also helped with the stability of microtubules, the scaffolding within brain cells along which signals travel.
"Nicotinamide prevents loss of cognition in mice with Alzheimer's disease, and the beauty of it is we already are moving forward with a clinical trial," says researcher Kim Green, a scientist at University of California, Irvine, in a news release.