Lack of folate, also called vitamin B-9, may triple the risk of developing dementia in old age, according to a study published Tuesday.
At the end of the period, 45 of the patients had developed dementia, including 34 diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, said the study, published by the British Medical Association’s Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.
When the researchers,
led by Jin-Sang Yoon of Chonnam National University in
Even after other factors were taken into account — including age, disability, alcohol consumption, weight change — “the onset of dementia was significantly associated with an exaggerated decline in folate,” the researchers concluded.
Folate and folic acid, another form of the compound, are essential for the creation of new cells in the body.
The compound occurs naturally in leafy vegetables such as spinach, turnip greens, lettuces, dried beans and peas and in certain fruits.
An study published last year
in The Lancet showed an improvement in short-term memory, mental agility and verbal fluency among persons over 50 who took a daily
dose of 800 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid. The
Taking folic acid before conception and throughout the first trimester helps a mother ensure that her child will not develop certain brain and spinal cord defects, including spina bifida, according to previous research.