Are you going to be self-sufficient when you get older? It’s something to think about now regardless of your age.  Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco collected blood samples from 1,800 men and women between the ages of 60 and 101, and tested their levels of B vitamins. These include vitamins B6, B12 and folate. They then gave participants tests designed to measure their mental ability. They found that participants who had the highest levels of B vitamins in their blood scored the best on measures of cognitive ability. The association was strongest with higher levels of folate. A diet rich in healthy fats, vitamins and antioxidants enhances mental stamina and may lead to improved memory and overall mental sharpness. Similarly a recent study reported that higher doses of B vitamins can reduce the rate of brain shrinkage in elderly people with memory problems and may slow their progression toward dementia. Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) affects around 16 percent of people aged over 70 worldwide and is characterized by slight problems with memory loss, language or other mental functions. MCI does not usually interfere with daily life, but around 50 percent of people diagnosed with it go on to develop more severe Alzheimer's within five years. In the study, participants were given very high doses of folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12, or a placebo dummy pill. These B vitamins are known to control levels of an amino acid called homocysteine in the blood, and high blood levels of homocysteine are linked to an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. The results showed that on average the brains of those taking the vitamin treatment shrank at half the rate of those on the placebo. Researchers found those people who had lowest rates of shrinkage had the highest scores in mental tests. What we can determine out of this research is that B vitamins are important to overall health and the aging process. It’s never too early or too late to get started. Find a good quality multivitamin that contains all of the B vitamins or a good B complex. Yours in good health, Linda Hlivka Clinical Nutritionist