Effects of Folic Acid and Vitamin B12, Alone and in Combination on Cognitive Function and Inflammatory Factors in the Elderly with Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Single-blind Experimental Design

Author(s): Fei Ma, Xuan Zhou, Qing Li, Jiangang Zhao, Aili Song, Peilin An, Yue Du, Weili Xu, Guowei Huang*

Journal Name: Current Alzheimer Research

Volume 16 , Issue 7 , 2019

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Background: Folate and vitamin B12 are well-known as essential nutrients that play key roles in the normal functions of the brain. Inflammatory processes play at least some role in the pathology of AD. Effective nutritional intervention approaches for improving cognitive deficits that reduce the peripheral inflammatory cytokine levels have garnered special attention.

Objective: The present study aimed to determine whether supplementation with folic acid and vitamin B12, alone and in combination improves cognitive performance via reducing levels of peripheral inflammatory cytokines.

Methods: 240 participants with MCI were randomly assigned in equal proportion to four treatment groups: folic acid alone, vitamin B12 alone, folic acid plus vitamin B12 or control without treatment daily for 6 months. Cognition was measured with WAIS-RC. The levels of inflammatory cytokines were measured using ELISA. Changes in cognitive function or blood biomarkers were analyzed by repeatedmeasure analysis of variance or mixed-effects models. This trial has been registered with trial number ChiCTR-ROC-16008305.

Results: Compared with control group, the folic acid plus vitamin B12 group had significantly greater improvements in serum folate, homocysteine, vitamin B12 and IL-6, TNF-α, MCP-1. The folic acid plus vitamin B12 supplementation significantly changed the Full Scale IQ (effect size d = 0.169; P = 0.024), verbal IQ (effect size d = 0.146; P = 0.033), Information (d = 0.172; P = 0.019) and Digit Span (d = 0.187; P = 0.009) scores. Post hoc Turkey tests found that folic acid and vitamin B12 supplementation was significantly more effective than folic acid alone for all endpoints.

Conclusions: The combination of oral folic acid plus vitamin B12 in MCI elderly for six months can significantly improve cognitive performance and reduce the levels of inflammatory cytokines in human peripheral blood. The combination of folic acid and vitamin B12 was significantly superior to either folic acid or vitamin B12 alone.

Keywords: Mild cognitive impairment, folic acid, vitamin B12, peripheral inflammatory cytokines, single-blind experimental design, Alzheimer's disease.

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Year: 2019
Published on: 03 September, 2019
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