There probably is a link between dementia and high blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine. The B vitamins help metabolize and lower homocysteine levels. There probably is a link between low B levels with high homocysteine and higher dementia risk.
The evidence came from the University of Oxford where researchers divided more than 270 elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) into two groups. For two years, one group took placebos while the other group took daily supplements of folic acid (0.8 mg), vitamin B-12 (0.5 mg), and vitamin B-6 (20 mg). Nearly 170 subjects agreed to have cranial MRI scans at the beginning and end of the study. This allowed the Oxford team to track brain atrophy. As they note in their study, accelerated brain atrophy is common in patients with MCI who later develop Alzheimer’s. Results: Brain atrophy progression was significantly slower in the B supplement group. Subjects with a greater rate of atrophy also had lower cognitive test scores than supplement subjects.
Taking additional B vitamins will help you keep your cognitive health intact. But taking extra B supplements is just a start. Other research shows that daily exercise combined with several key supplements will help prevent brain atrophy and delay the onset of Alzheimer’s.
We’ve all heard the old adage that an apple a day keeps the doctor away but did you ever think there was any truth to it?
Apples may really have huge health benefits especially on Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
Dr. Thomas Shea and his colleagues at the University of Massachusetts did a clinical trial that shows apple juice fights AD. in as little as one month.
Dr. Shea’s research team studied 21 patients between the ages of 72 to 93. Each of the patients was diagnosed with moderate-to-severe AD. He gave them two four-ounce glasses of apple juice each day for a month. After just 30 days, his team noted major changes in mood and behavior. Changes included improvement in anxiety, depression and delusion.
People receiving apple juice were calmer, less agitated, and at the end of the day, had a better quality of life.
His findings were published in the June 2010 issue of the American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias.
Two glasses of apple juice each day for 30 days produced less “beta amyloid” – the protein fragment which forms “senile plaques” – which are often found in the brains of people with AD.
“Apple juice keep[s] one’s mind functioning at its best,” says Dr. Shea. “It may delay key aspects of AD.”
His team has also showed that apple juice increases the production of a brain transmitter called acetylcholine. Acetylcholine helps slow the mental decline of people with AD. In that same study, he investigated whether apple juice could also improve memory. He put mice through a series of memory and learning maze tests. The mice who drank apple juice performed better on the memory tests.
“The study show[ed] that consumption of apple juice can help reduce problems associated with memory loss,” concluded Dr. Shea.
In another study by Dr. Larson he concluded, (observing 2,000 people over the course of 10 years) that people who drink fruit juice three times a week reduced the risk of AD by a whopping 76 percent. People who drank it twice a week reduced their risk by 16 percent.
Surprisingly, the best benefits came from drinking fruit juice, as opposed to whole fruit. Dr. Larson theorizes this is because of the higher antioxidant quota in juice. According to him, all-natural fruit juice uses the core, seeds and skin of the fruit. These are the parts of the fruit that have the highest concentration of natural antioxidants. It’s those parts that people usually skip – and thus miss the best antioxidant benefits.
He also notes that fruit juice contains more antioxidants than vitamin C or E supplements.
“The brain accumulates damage due to oxidation as we age,” says Dr. Larson. “If you protect the brain from that damage, you protect the person from AD.”
Team member Dr. Qi Dai says “drinking fruit juices was [linked] with a decreased risk of AD. These findings suggest that fruit juices play an important role in delaying AD.”
It’s important to note that the team used all-natural, pure fruit juices. Those juices shouldn’t be confused with high-sugar, “fruit” beverages, which only include a limited percentage of actual fruit juice.
This is the list of nutrients that are known to be related to Alzheimers Disease:
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Vitamin B complex
- Niacin (vitamin B3)
- Vitamins C & E
Research has linked all of these nutrients to Alzheimer’s risk. Subjects in the studies were either at higher AD risk because nutrient levels were too low (as in the case of DHA –-an omega-3 fatty acid), or subjects were at lower risk because nutrient levels were very high (as with vitamins B3, C and E).
In addition, following a strict Mediterranean diet helps prevent dementia as well as silent strokes that damage the brain without causing symptoms.
Eat well. Get regular exercise. Preventing Alzheimer’s might not be as simple as that, but it’s a perfect place to start.
I recommend EPA-DHA 720 omega 3 fish oils by Metagenics. Order at www.DrJeffreyTucker.meta-ehealth.com The important thing is the dose. Email me off list for the dose.