B Vitamins & Omega 3 – Dynamic Duo Against Dementia

New research shows that B vitamins and omega-3 are a dynamic duo against dementia, reducing brain shrinkage by 73 per cent.

The discovery, hailed as “a major step towards Alzheimer’s prevention” by pharmacology professor David Smith, who first discovered that supplemental B vitamins (B6, B12 and folic acid) at higher levels than can be achieved through diet to those with sufficient omega-3 fats stopped accelerated brain shrinkage, the hallmark of Alzheimer’s[i] “The effect is greater than that of any drug treatment to date” said Smith in the Sunday Express.

Three other research groups, in Holland, China and Sweden, have now confirmed the synergistic effect of omega-3 and B vitamins. A Dutch trial has reported no benefit from the B vitamins in those with low omega-3 status, but a massive improvement in cognition in those with sufficient omega-3 levels.[ii]

A Swedish trial giving omega-3 fish oils to older people found the group with sufficient vitamin B, indicated by a low level of blood homocysteine, showed three times the clinical improvement reported from the recent Lecanemab anti-amyloid drug trial.[iii]

A review of 14 studies published in the British Journal of Nutrition last month which found those aged 60-70 who supplemented with a combination of B vitamins and omega 3 fats had less cognitive decline than those who did not. The research, which included a total of 4913 people who were followed up between 6 months and four years concluded “increasing intake of both nutrients benefits cognition in older adults compared to placebo.”[iv]

UK charity Foodforthebrain.org is looking for volunteers to complete a free online Cognitive Function Test and questionnaire and test their omega-3 and B vitamin status.


[i] Jernerén F, Elshorbagy AK, Oulhaj A, Smith SM, Refsum H, Smith AD (2015). Brain atrophy in cognitively impaired elderly: the importance of long-chain ω-3 fatty acids and B vitamin status in a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Jul;102(1):215-21

[ii] van Soest, A.P.M., van de Rest, O., Witkamp, R.F. et al. DHA status influences effects of B-vitamin supplementation on cognitive ageing: a post-hoc analysis of the B-proof trial. Eur J Nutr (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00394-022-02924-w

[iii] Walsh S, Merrick R, Richard E, Nurock S, Brayne C. Lecanemab for Alzheimer’s disease. BMJ. 2022 Dec 19;379:o3010. doi: 10.1136/bmj.o3010. PMID: 36535691.

[iv]  Fairbairn, P British Journal of Nutrition,2023 129(3), 428-441.