Folate (vitamin B9) deficiency linked to higher dementia, death risk

Credit: CC0 Public Domain.

Scientists from Mount Sinai found that low folate levels (vitamin B9) in the blood may be linked to a heightened risk of dementia and death from any cause in older people.

The findings suggest folate levels should be routinely checked in older age, especially given that blood levels of folate tend to tail off with age, with up to 1 in 5 older adults estimated to be folate deficient.

The research is published in the journal Evidence-Based Mental Health and was conducted by Anat Rotstein et al.

Recent studies have found that folate deficiency affects cognition and nerve signaling in the brain, making it a possible risk factor for dementia.

In the study, the team analyzed the medical records of 27,188 people served by one national healthcare provider in Israel.

All the participants were aged between 60 and 75 and had no dementia for at least 10 years before blood folate checks began in 2013.

Their records were monitored for a diagnosis of dementia or death up to the end of 2017.

The team found some 3418 (just under 13%) participants were folate deficient, defined as levels below 4.4 ng/ml.

Folate deficiency was linked to a strongly heightened risk of both dementia and death from any cause.

Among those who were folate deficient, the incidence of dementia was estimated at 7.96 per 10,000 person-years, while death from any cause was estimated at 19.20 per 10,000 person-years.

This compares with a dementia incidence of 4.24 and of death from any cause of 5.36 per 10,000 person-years among those who weren’t folate deficient.

After accounting for other influential factors, the folate-deficient were 68% more likely to be diagnosed with dementia and nearly 3 times as likely to die from any cause.

The team says it’s possible that folate deficiency might affect homocysteine levels and therefore the vascular risk of dementia, and/or compromise DNA repair of neurons, making them vulnerable to oxidative damage, which in turn might speed up brain cell aging and damage.

If you care about dementia, please read studies about heartburn drugs that could increase risk of dementia, and this supplement could keep dementia at bay.

For more information about brain health, please see recent studies about how high blood pressure could increase your dementia risk, and results show this MIND diet may protect your cognitive function, prevent dementia.

Copyright © 2022 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.