A study has shown a reversal in the rate of brain shrinkage in people with pre-dementia given a supplement of vitamin B6, B12 and folic acid . The study showed that the B vitamins halved the rate of brain shrinkage, cut the shrinkage in the Alzheimer’s areas of the brain by nine times.[vii] The best drug to date has cut brain shrinkage by 2 per cent with virtually no clinical benefit.
B vitamins are needed to help attach omega-3 into your brain. The next big breakthrough came when Professor David Smith’s group at Oxford University showed that the omega-3 fats don’t work nearly so well without B vitamins – and the B vitamins don’t work in people with low intake of omega-3. You need both.
“In those with sufficient omega-3 status B vitamins resulted in up to 73 per cent less brain shrinkage and slowed memory decline.[viii]” says Professor Smith. One in three ended the trial with no clinical signs of dementia at all. Two other trials, in Holland[ix] and Sweden[x], have confirmed that omega-3 and B vitamins are a dynamic duo, slowing down cognitive decline when both are sufficient.
The three critical B vitamins are vitamin B6, B12 and folic acid or folate which is found in green foods (think foliage). We recommend older people supplement at least 10mcg of vitamin B12 a day, but the study gave 500mcg. Why? Because many older people absorb B12 less well. It needs stomach acid so those on antacid drugs often end up lacking B12.[xi]
The US National Institutes of Health researchers attribute 32 per cent of risk to inactive lifestyle, 22 per cent to smoking, 22 per cent to lack of seafood or omega-3 and another 22 per cent to a raised blood homocysteine Homocysteine is an amino acid found in the blood. Elevated levels of homocysteine have been associated with narrowing and hardening of the arteries, an increased… level, which is a measure of B vitamin status.
Log on to foodforthebrain.org, for a free online Cognitive Function test and a Dementia Risk Index questionnaire that works out what changes you need to make to protect yourself and your brain.
Read the full article at Upgrade Your Brain – Patrick Holford