Thursday, May 31, 2012

Diet and Powerful Nutrients Prevent Brain Shrinkage, Lower Alzheimer’s Disease Risk

Researchers reporting in the prestigious journal, Neurology have found that proper diet and specific nutrients can lower the risk of brain shrinkage by nearly forty percent. Other lifestyle factors including degree of education and elevated blood pressure combined with a healthy diet can slash brain shrinkage risk in half. Shrinking brain volume is very closely associated with the development of many forms of dementia including the most devastating affliction, Alzheimer’s disease.

In addition to following weight management practices including calorie restriction with optimal nutrition (CRON), middle and advanced aging adults will want to ensure they consume a diet packed with marine derived Omega-3 fats and vitamins B, C, D and E to dramatically lower the risk of reduced brain volume, memory loss and risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Key Vitamins and Marine Derived Fats Slow Brain Shrinkage and Cognitive Decline
Dr. Gene Bowman from the Departments of Neurology and Public Health and Preventive Medicine at the Oregon Health & Science University and his team of researchers recruited 104 elderly people with an average age of 87 who had few risk factors for impaired memory and thinking. They performed blood tests to quantify and compare 30 different nutrient biomarkers considered important to support brain health and volume. All the participants also completed tests of memory and thinking, while 42 of them also underwent MRI scans that measured their brain volume.

An analysis of the results found that the participants ate an otherwise healthy diet, yet 25% were lacking in vitamin D and 7% were deficient in vitamin B12. Dr. Bowman noted that the results showed a significant amount of the variation in brain volume and scores on the thinking and memory tests were tied to levels of nutrient biomarkers.

Nutrient Markers Measured in Blood Impact Brain Health and Memory
Researchers determined the nutrient levels accounted for 17% of the variation in the scores, while 46% of the variation was tied to other factors such as age, number of years of education and blood pressure. For brain volume, the nutrient levels accounted for 37% of the variation. The study found that the vitamins and nutrients you get from eating a wide range of fruits, vegetables and fish can be measured in blood biomarkers and have a direct impact on brain shrinkage, memory and cognition.

Dr. Bowman concluded “it is very exciting to think that people could potentially stop their brains from shrinking and keep them sharp by adjusting their diet… I'm a firm believer these nutrients have strong potential to protect your brain and make it work better.” In addition to eating a natural, organic diet full of fresh vegetables, fish and fruit, some health-minded individuals may want to consider supplementing with vitamins B, C, D, E along with fish oil capsule to ensure optimal bioavailability of these critical nutrients.

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