Alzheimer’s disease is the most common incurable dementia and the numbers of people afflicted with it are growing at an alarming rate.
A Form of Vitamin B3 Prevented Brain Damage and Reversed Memory Loss In Mice
A scientific study published February 5, 2018 in PNAS Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America showed that a type of Vitamin B3 nicotinamide riboside, was able to arrest brain damage and improve memory function in mice.
Nicotinamide Riboside Increased Memory, Learning and Motor Skills In Mice
In the study a form of Vitamin B3, Nicotinamide Riboside (NR) was able to neutralize neuro-inflammation which leads to DNA damage in brain cells of mice that had been generated to have Alzheimer characteristics. DNA brain cells in human Alzheimer’s patients cannot repair themselves. Moreover, NR was also found to increase learning, memory and motor skills in the AD-like mice.
Niacin Prevented Cognitive Decline in Mice
In an earlier study researchers found that nicotinamide or niacin was able to prevent cognitive decline in mice.
Results of these studies strongly suggest that niacin might be useful in a therapeutic way for treating Alzheimer’s patients. More studies will need to be done with human clinical trials to see if these effects on mice can also apply to people suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s.
If studies with humans also show that niacin can protect the brains of people suffering from Alzheimer’s, research will be necessary to show at what dosages treatment with niacin is effective and safe.
Caution: Niacin Can Have Dangerous Interactions with Prescription Drugs
This form of Vitamin B3 is found in Niacin, which in large dosages can be toxic. Also, niacin in large doses can lower blood cholesterol levels and can have dangerous interactions with other cholesterol lowering medications like statins. These interactions can lead to muscle damage and a very dangerous disease state that can damage kidneys called rhabdomyolysis. Too much niacin can also cause liver problems and lead to nausea, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems. Low blood pressure can also be a side effect from taking too much niacin and this can interact dangerously with blood pressure lowering medications.
No one should take supplemental niacin without consulting a doctor, who can also monitor the effects of niacin with lab tests.
Foods Rich in Vitamin B3
However, no harm can come from eating niacin rich foods like fish, especially tuna, poultry, meat, liver, mushrooms, peas, mangos, peanuts, avocados, sunflower seeds, eggs, spinach, potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, corn, pumpkin, winter squash and more.
B complex Vitamins, Brewer’s Yeast and Vitamin B12
The B complex vitamins, in general, have been used in treating patients suffering from schizophrenia and other mental illnesses. Brewer’s yeast is a very rich natural food source for B vitamins except for Vitamin B12.
However, brewer’s yeast also contains chromium and is not recommended for diabetics.
Vitamin B12 cobalamin has also been used to prevent mental illnesses. Your doctor can send you for a simple blood test that can determine if you are deficient in Vitamin B12 and effective supplementation is by dissolving a pill under the tongue.
No one should take large dosages of supplemental B complex vitamins, Vitamin B12 or brewer’s yeast, however, without consulting a doctor.
Niacin Prevents Glaucoma In Mice
Interestingly, in a different study niacin was also found to prevent glaucoma in mice.
Since different forms of Vitamin B3 have been shown in studies to improve the condition of Alzheimer-like mice, there is a possibility that these forms of Vitamin B3 can also benefit humans suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s. However, more research is necessary to determine just how niacin might affect dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. While no one should take supplemental Vitamin B3 without consulting a doctor who can monitor them with lab tests, it is safe to eat more niacin-rich foods.