It is known that a Western diet is associated with dementia – the risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease are almost identical to those for cardiovascular disease.
A diet rich in Multivitamins and fish may protect the brain from aging while junk food has the opposite effect, research suggests. Elderly people with high blood levels of multi-vitamins and omega 3 fatty acids had less brain shrinkage and better mental performance. A Neurology study found.
The research looked at nutrients in the blood, rather than relying on questionnaires to assess a person’s diet. US experts analyzed blood samples from 104 healthy people with an average age of 87 who had few known risk factors for Alzheimer’s.
US experts found those who had more vitamin B, C, D, and E in their blood performed better in tests of memory and thinking skills. People with high levels of omega 3 fatty acids also had high scores. The poorest scores were found in people who had more Trans fats in their bleed. Trans fats are common in processed foods, including cakes, biscuits, and fried foods.
The researchers then carried out brain scans on 42 of the participants. They found individuals with high levels of vitamins and omega 3 in their blood were more likely to have a large brain volume; while those with high levels of trans fat had a smaller total brain volume.
This is a good reason to consider taking vitamin supplements, such as multivitamins when people are tough to get all the nutrients you need from diet alone.
The American diet is insufficient in providing these brain-healthy nutrients, but a nutritious diet provides both the amount and variety of vitamins and other phytochemicals that support optimal brain function. It is especially important to eat healthfully, supplement with vitamin D, and get adequate DHA as we age, especially after age 50. An algae-based DHA supplement is a healthful, environmentally friendly source of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. Eating plenty of unrefined plant foods and taking a source of DHA, such as my DHA Purity starting early in life will allow us to maintain valuable vitamins, omega-3s, and other phytochemicals in brain tissue to keep our minds sharp as we age.
Also, vitamin B12 is important for nervous system function, and many cardiovascular disease risk factors are also risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease, scientists hypothesized that adequate vitamin B12 levels would be protective, and elevated homocysteine would be detrimental with respect to the development of Alzheimer’s. They investigated the relationship between homocysteine, B12, and Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis in a group of 271 healthy older persons (65-79 years of age) over the course of 7 years. Elevated homocysteine was associated with increased risk, and increased B12 with decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
We already know that B12 is an important supplement to take, and Alzheimer’s prevention may turn out to be an added benefit of maintaining adequate B12 levels.
A health-promoting diet is the most effective way to maintain excellent health. But in order to enjoy the strongest protection possible, it is just as important to prevent deficiencies of certain nutrients that may be sub-optimal in an overall health-promoting diet, such as vitamin B12, zinc, DHA, and vitamin D, by taking the necessary multi-vitamins supplements to protect against chronic diseases, including Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.