Alzheimer’s is an insidious disease and the leading cause of dementia. It’s also one of the major causes of death in old age. Diet plays a major role in preventing the disease. In fact, having high concentrations of the omega-3fatty acid, DHA, in the blood can halve the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study that is published in Nutrients. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is found in oily fish and fish oil supplements. This essential fatty acid is also found in all our cell membranes (including nerve cells) and plays a key role in maintaining our general health and cognitive skills. Unfortunately, modern diets contain far too little omega-3, but science is not quite sure how much we need.
Apparently so. According to a new study published in the journal Alzheimer’s and Dementia, older people who take a daily multivitamin supplement for several years are far less likely to develop dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other types of cognitive decline. The new study supports earlier research where it has been seen that the different vitamins and minerals increase cerebral blood flow and protect neurons. It pays off to choose high-quality supplements to make sure that the nutrients are properly absorbed in the body.
Oily fish and fish oil have a high content of the two omega-3 fatty acids, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), that are important for our brain, nervous system, intelligence, and mental health. Modern diets, however, are to blame for our lack of omega-3. A team of scientists from England has found that supplementation with EPA-rich fish oil for 26 weeks improves mental acuity and reaction time in healthy, young adults. This was not the case with DHA-rich oil fish oil, on the other hand. The scientists were surprised to find that EPA is more important than DHA for these cognitive skills.
Neuroplasticity refers to the brain ability of brain cells to carry out structural and functional changes that are of vital importance to our development and health. It has been shown that neuroplasticity is impaired in connection with various diseases of the central nervous system, including such conditions as depression and dementia. In a review article that is published in Brain Plasticity, scientists have looked closer at how exercise, the Mediterranean diet, and nutrients like omega-3 and vitamin B12 can improve neuroplasticity by way of a protein called BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor). Selenium is also known to be important for the formation of new brain cells, which can help prevent cognitive decline via other mechanisms.
The rate of autism and ADHD has exploded over the past decades, and the problem comes with an enormous human and socio-economic price tag. A study from the University of Copenhagen has shown that fish oil helps adults with autism and ADHD by improving their attention and working memory. In the study that is published in British Journal of Nutrition, the scientists look closer at omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil and their vital role in the brain and nervous system.
Fish oil contains EPA and DHA, two omega-3 fatty acids with a number of different functions in the brain and nervous system. It appears that middle-aged people who consume more oily fish or who take fish oil supplements have improvements in their brain structure and cognitive skills. This was shown in a study that is published in Neurology. The study results are quite interesting because cognitive decline and dementia are increasing problems that affect millions of people worldwide. The study supports previous research where it was seen that having higher concentrations of DHA in the red blood cell can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 50 percent.
A well-functioning memory is vital for our quality of life. With the increasing number of seniors, however, the dementia rate is on an incline. According to a study that is published in Clinical Nutrition, it looks as if a combination of fish oil and antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin may improve memory in elderly seniors. You can support your brain and memory on a daily basis by eating oily fish or fish oil supplements together with antioxidants from foods such as cabbage, spinach and other leafy greens, and eggs. Another important antioxidant is mezo-zeaxanthin that is found in certain fish and in fish skin.
Selenium supports a host of different metabolic processes and serves as an antioxidant that protects our cells. According to recent studies, selenium also has anti-ageing properties that protect us against cardiovascular disease, cancer, dementia, and other age-related diseases. According to a review article published in Medical News Today, selenium also helps against impaired immunity and counteracts chronic inflammation, which is typically seen in connection with ageing processes. A Swedish study of healthy seniors has even showed that supplementation with selenium and Q10 has a positive effect on heart function, quality of life, and life expectancy.
Brain cells (neurons) contain comparatively large concentrations of vitamin C, a nutrient that helps us maintain a healthy nervous system in a number of different ways. Scientists have discovered that lack of vitamin C can affect the brain’s neural signaling. Consequently, a vitamin C deficiency can impair memory and other cognitive skills in seniors. This was demonstrated in a study from Flinders University in Australia. Mild cognitive impairment is widespread among older people and represents an early stage of dementia so it is important to get plenty of vitamin C every day throughout life.
Scientists from Queensland in Australia have discovered that vitamin D is of vital importance to the structure and health of the brain. Also, deficiencies of the nutrient may lead to dysfunctions and loss of cognitive skills plus depression and schizophrenia. More than one billion people worldwide are believed to lack vitamin D. This may have widespread consequences for their health and may even be linked to the huge increase in mental illnesses.
The number of older people is on the rise, and so is the number of people who suffer from dementia and die as a result of this condition. If you increase your dietary intake of magnesium, however, and get more than what is officially recommended, it helps keep your brain sharp and prevents dementia, according to a large population study that is published in European Journal of Nutrition. Many older people don’t eat enough and even take different kinds of medicine that block the body’s uptake and utilization of magnesium. So, how does magnesium affect the brain and nervous system? And how much do we need to stay mentally alert throughout life? Those are the questions.
It’s commonly known that physical activity boosts the brain’s ability to form new brain cells – or neurons. Still, the underlying mechanisms have been a mystery to science. A team of Australian scientists, however, has recently discovered that, during exercise, mice produce a selenium-containing protein that helps the brain synthesize new brain cells. The scientists consider this to be a rather fantastic study, and it is assumed that selenium therapy may be used in the future to prevent and treat cognitive decline in people who are unable to carry out physical exercise or in those likely to be selenium-deficient. This is particularly relevant for Alzheimer’s patients and people who have suffered a stroke. It should be added that it can be quite a challenge to get enough selenium from an otherwise balanced diet in our part of the world.
The brain is particularly vulnerable towards oxidative stress and local inflammation that can set the stage for Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological conditions. However, it turns out that certain selenium-containing antioxidants are able to protect the brain neurons against damage. Also, selenium supplements can improve cognitive performance in patients suffering from mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease, according to a meta-analysis that is published in Nutrients.
Lack of vitamin B12 is known to cause fatigue, poor memory, cognitive impairment, and hippocampal atrophy. Supplementation with B12, on the other hand, can improve cognitive functions, according to a study that is published in Nutrients. The problem is that the signs of cognitive disturbance are insidious and therefore not automatically associated with a simple nutrient deficiency that is often a result of ageing, vegetarian diets, low stomach acid, or diabetes medication.
Most people think of vitamin C in connection with the immune defense, but as it turns out, the largest concentration of vitamin C is actually found in the brain. This is because vitamin C is enormously important for the energy turnover, the nervous system, and the cognitive skills, and this is described in a new review article. There is also evidence of widespread vitamin C deficiency, which may eventually impair cognitive skills and increase the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. If a pregnant woman lacks vitamin C, it can disrupt the development of the baby’s brain. There is a number of factors that increase our need for the nutrient, so the big question is how much do we need to secure optimal brain function throughout life?
- and deficiencies increase your risk of anxiety, depression, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, schizophrenia, and other neurological diseases
Psychological disorders represent society’s single largest disease burden, and an increasing number of people are affected by it. There can be a variety of causes, and lack of vitamin D appears to be an alarming risk factor. This is because vitamin D is involved in a host of different functions that are relevant for brain neurons, including signaling substances and the brain’s reward system that affects our mood. Vitamin D also helps protect the brain against toxins, atherosclerosis, and inflammation, according to a review article that is published in the science journal Cureus. But there are questions that need to be answered. How much vitamin D do we need? Can we get enough from sun exposure? Is there enough vitamin D in a regular vitamin pill? Why do children, seniors, pregnant women, overweight individuals, and dark-skinned people have an increased need for vitamin D? And which mineral is extremely important for the body’s ability to utilize vitamin D?
The risk of dementia and neurological disorders increases with age. Diet plays an important role and it is assumed that the widespread lack of vitamin K2is particularly relevant. In order to test this hypothesis, a group of scientists measured levels of vitamin K2 in the brains of deceased seniors. They found significantly fewer cases of cognitive decline, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease in brains with higher K2 levels. This has something to do with the fact that vitamin K2 counteracts atherosclerosis, accumulation of harmful protein, and brain inflammation. The study is published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia and sheds a whole new light on vitamin K’s potential role in brain health and the importance of getting enough of this nutrient.