Wednesday, November 5, 2008
An A+ result for a B vitamin?
An over-the-counter vitamin in high doses prevented memory loss in mice with Alzheimer's disease, and UC Irvine scientists now are conducting a clinical trial to determine its effect in humans.
Nicotinamide, a form of vitamin B3, lowered levels of a protein called phosphorylated tau that leads to the development of tangles, one of two brain lesions associated with Alzheimer's disease. The vitamin also strengthened scaffolding along which information travels in brain cells, helping to keep neurons alive and further preventing symptoms in mice genetically wired to develop Alzheimer's.
"Nicotinamide has a very robust effect on neurons," said Kim Green, UCI scientist and lead author of the study. "Nicotinamide prevents loss of cognition in mice with Alzheimer's disease, and the beauty of it is we already are moving forward with a clinical trial."
The study appears online Nov. 5 in the Journal of Neuroscience.
Nicotinamide is a water-soluble vitamin sold in health food stores. It generally is safe but can be toxic in very high doses. Clinical trials have shown it benefits people with diabetes complications and has anti-inflammatory properties.