Monday, February 20, 2012

B Vitamins and Omega-3 Fats Slow Alzheimer’s Disease Progression

Proper nutritional status attained by consuming a healthy diet teaming with natural vitamins and minerals along with optimization of omega fat lipid ratios can help to prevent cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathology. Researchers studying the effects of nutrition at Oxford University in England found that daily supplementation with folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12 lowered levels of homocysteine, a known risk factor leading to decline in cognition and memory.

Further evidence published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research explains that a disproportionate ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids plays a crucial role in the development of AD in later life. Cellular nutritional saturation from diet and appropriate supplementation with B vitamins and omega-3 fats may provide the cornerstone to prevent this most feared memory-robbing disease.

B Vitamin Supplementation Shown to Lower Homocysteine by 30% and Slow Brain Atrophy
Reporting in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, scientists examined the proposed link between elevated homocysteine levels and cognitive decline. Homocysteine has already been shown to dramatically increase the risk of heart disease and heart attack in prior studies. Researchers examined 266 people over the age of 70 with established mild cognitive impairment, and broke them into two groups. One group was supplemented with folic acid, vitamin B6 and B12, vitamin cofactors that lower homocysteine levels, while the second group received a placebo.

Brain wasting or atrophy is a common sign of cognitive impairment and is closely associated with Alzheimer’s dementia. The rate of brain atrophy is increased by higher concentrations of homocysteine in the blood and brain tissue. Researchers examining the results of this study found that the group supplemented with B vitamins for a period of two years experienced a 30% reduction in homocysteine levels. They found dramatic improvements in mental tests including global cognition and episodic memory (69% improvement in word recall memory) compared to the control group.

Omega-6 to Omega-3 Fat Ratio in Diet Creates an Imbalance in the Brain
The standard American diet (SAD) includes large quantities of oxidized omega-6 fats from fried and processed foods when compared to omega-3 fat consumption (from fish, nuts and seeds). The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids ranges from 20:1 to as high as 50:1 (ideal range is no more than 4:1), creating a perpetual degree of inflammation throughout the body. Researchers have determined that this imbalance creates a disturbance in brain chemistry affecting neurotransmitter balance and electrical firing in the brain that sets the stage for amyloid tangles and cognitive decline.

Reestablishing omega fat homeostasis by balancing toward a 1:1 intake ratio and correcting B vitamin nutritional deficiencies provide deep insight toward understanding and controlling risk factors for the development of many forms of dementia including Alzheimer’s disease. Most middle aged adults will want to include a high potency B vitamin supplement (preferably formulated from natural food sources) and include omega-3 fats from diet or fish oil consumption to lower dementia risk factors.

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