Directions For Future Studies
The most important issue for future studies is whether B-vitamin supplementation is of benefit or harm for the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases. Clinical trials can address the issue in persons without vitamin deficiency, but cannot address the issue for a large segment of the older population who are vitamin B12 deficient, as it would be unethical not to treat known deficiency. In the absence of a suitable animal model, we must rely on epidemiologic studies. These studies should be of prospective or of longitudinal design. The longitudinal studies of cognitive decline should include multiple cognitive tests measured at multiple time points, and use analytic methods such as mixed models to measure cognitive decline. Very importantly, these studies should adjust for the important dietary and non-dietary confounders, and use multiple diagnostic methods to diagnose vitamin B12 deficiency. These types of studies require large samples to obtain informative results. Finally, these studies need to be conducted in diverse, population-based samples that include the oldest old, as the medically underserved and older segments of the population are the most likely to have unrecognized or untreated vitamin B12 deficiency.
What Dementia Caregivers Should Know About Vitamin B12 And Folate
What Dementia Caregivers Should Know About Vitamin B12 and Folate
A recent study in Ireland discovered that a large percentage of seniors develop vitamin B12 and folate deficiencies as they age vitamins that affect many aspects of health, including brain health.
Learn more about how vitamin B12 and folate can impact seniors and what dementia caregivers should know if a parent or senior loved one has a deficiency.
Should You Take A Brain Supplement
What about all those over-the-counter brain supplements that claim theyre proven to benefit your brain? Take those claims with a grain of salt, Smith says.
Supplements are loosely regulated in the U.S., so theres no guarantee they do what they claim to do. The studies done by manufacturers arent always well-designed, Smith says. And some supplements might contain ingredients at doses that could be harmful. They might even be tainted with contaminants like heavy metals that can be dangerous, she adds.
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Phospholipids: Phosphatidylserine & Phosphatidylcholine
The brain has fatty acids and phospholipids that support brain function. It has been suggested that taking phospholipid supplementation can enhance the component structure in the neuronal membranes by improving signal transduction, cell-to-cell communication, and cell growth regulation, leading to improved cognitive function. It may also help prevent cognitive decline by protecting the cell membranes and accelerating phospholipid resynthesis .
A review of studies on a precursor to phosphatidylcholine taken at 6001000 mg daily suggested an improvement in the cognitive, emotional, and behavioral status in older patients with cognitive impairment or dementia. Therefore, these results suggest that phospholipids positively affect memory and behavior . Choline can be obtained in the diet from animal foods, cruciferous vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
Vitamins That Help Improve Memory
There isn’t a magic pill you can take to improve your memory, however certain vitamins work in synergy with other essential nutrients to help your brain function at an optimum level. These vitamins help to develop and maintain your brain’s nerves and neurotransmitter signaling chemicals to help improve short-term memory, memory recall and even help prevent age-related memory loss.
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Brain Vitamins And Nootropics For Memory
Combat memory problems and memory loss. These five brain vitamins enhance memory and support healthy cognitive function.
An estimated one in nine adults over the age of 45 say they experience memory issues, including occasional memory loss. This number skyrockets as we get older. By the time were in our mid-60s, an estimated 40% of adults have a memory impairment. But memory loss doesnt have to be an inevitable outcome of ageing.
The following brain vitamins and certain nootropicsherbs and other substances that improve cognitive functioncan help:
Increase Your Phosphatidylcholine Intake
- Fry three ounces of beef liver in a pan for 65% of daily phosphatidylcholine benefits.
- A large, boiled egg accounts for 27% of this minerals recommended intake.
- Roast chicken breast or soybeans
- Beef isnt always bad. In fact, it represents 13% of your needed phosphatidylcholine.
- Go for grains, like wheat germ and quinoa.
These brain vitamins and minerals are common recommendations for most seniors. For help addressing specific dietary concerns, consider consulting a dietitian or your doctor.
Chai, Bingyan et al. Vitamin D deficiency as a risk factor for dementia and Alzheimers disease: an updated meta-analysis.
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Vitamins B3 B6 B9 And B12
These nutrients take part in your metabolism. Additionally, they increase your bodys amino acid production. Without amino acids, your brain health suffers.
If your body lacks one of these B vitamins, the others wont be able to function well. So how can you make sure your diet contains these nutrients?
Make sure to eat whole grains, nuts, and leafy greens. Poultry is a good option as well.
Brain Health Supplements: Do They Work
Many of the ingredients in brain health supplements have been tied to brain health in some way. But much of the evidence comes from research on food and diet, not supplements, Smith says.
There are more than 25,000 bioactive substances in food, which work together to protect your body including your brain and processes that affect your brain, Smith says. Taking just one or two of those vitamins or chemicals isnt going to be a cure-all.
Still, you might be wondering about the link between common brain booster ingredients and brain health. Heres what the science says.
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Evaluating The Epidemiologic Evidence
Even while there is a general impression of strong epidemiologic evidence to support associations between the B-vitamins and cognitive decline, in actuality, the evidence is weak. The impression may be driven by the numerous cross-sectional and case-control studies that relate dietary or biochemical levels of the B-vitamins to cognition or disease status. A primary limitation of these types of studies is that one cannot determine whether the observed association is a cause or effect of the disease. For example, both serum and dietary intake levels of folate have been reported to decline with prolonged institutionalization , and duration of dementia . In addition, studies that use a one-time cognitive assessment cannot separate attained or lifetime cognitive ability from cognitive decline due to age or disease. Confounding bias is highly likely in these types of studies because cognitive ability is related to many factors, including education, socio-economic status, and healthy lifestyle behaviors. Depression may be another source of confounding in these studies, as it is a common condition in persons with dementia , and has been associated with folate deficiency .
Vitamin D: For A Lifetime Of Brain Health
Unlike other vitamins, we rarely get vitamin D from the food we eat.
Instead, its created when our skin is exposed to sunlight.
Vitamin D has profound effects on the brain during all stages of life, from prenatal development through the senior years.
Getting adequate vitamin D throughout adult life can help prevent cognitive decline, dementia, and Alzheimers.
Vitamin D can lift your mood, improve memory, and increase problem-solving ability.
Inadequate levels contribute to the depression many people feel in the winter.
But its nearly impossible to get all you need from food, or from the sun.
The usual rule of thumb for adequate vitamin D formation is 20 minutes of sun, twice a week on a large surface area of your body, such as arms or legs.
But, in reality, that rule rarely holds true.
The use of sunscreen, the time of year, latitude, natural skin color, and current UV index affect how efficiently your skin manufactures vitamin D.
In the US, if you live north of San Francisco, St. Louis, or Richmond, the suns rays are too weak to trigger vitamin D production most of the year.
Vitamin D deficiency has reached epidemic proportions with up to 77% of Americans not getting enough.
The bottom line is that most people in North America and Europe need to take supplemental vitamin D.
When choosing a brand, be sure to buy from a reputable company you trust.
NEED A MENTAL PERFORMANCE LIFT?
Does this sound like you?
Fuzzy thinking, foggy focus, forgetfulness?
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Vitamin B12 Deficiency Can Be Sneaky Harmful
- By Harvard Health Publishing Staff, Harvard Health
What harm can having too little of vitamin B12 do? Consider this: Over the course of two months, a 62-year-old man developed numbness and a “pins and needles” sensation in his hands, had trouble walking, experienced severe joint pain, began turning yellow, and became progressively short of breath. The cause was lack of vitamin B12 in his bloodstream, according to a case report from Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital published in The New England Journal of Medicine. It could have been worsea severe vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to deep depression, paranoia and delusions, memory loss, incontinence, loss of taste and smell, and more.
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National Institutes of Health. Dietary Supplement Fact Sheets.
Travica et al. Vitamin C Status and Cognitive Function: A Systematic Review.
World Health Organization. Dementia.
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May Support Bone Health And Prevent Osteoporosis
Maintaining adequate vitamin B12 levels may support your bone health.
One study in more than 2,500 adults showed that people with a vitamin B12 deficiency also had lower than normal bone mineral density .
Bones with decreased mineral density can become delicate and fragile over time, leading to an increased risk of osteoporosis.
Other studies have also shown a link between low vitamin B12 levels and poor bone health and osteoporosis, especially in women (
A study involving 5,000 women aged 40 or older concluded that supplementing with vitamin B12, along with folic acid and vitamin B6, may reduce this risk .
The group receiving these supplements for seven years had fewer cases of macular degeneration, compared to the placebo group. The risk of developing any form of the condition was 34% lower, while it was 41% lower for more severe types .
Ultimately, further studies are needed to fully understand vitamin B12s role in promoting vision health and preventing macular degeneration.
Maintaining adequate levels of vitamin B12 decreases homocysteine levels in your blood. This may help prevent the development of age-related macular degeneration.
May Prevent Major Birth Defects
Adequate vitamin B12 levels are crucial to a healthy pregnancy.
Studies show that a fetuss brain and nervous system require sufficient B12 levels from the mother to develop properly.
Vitamin B12 deficiency in the beginning stages of pregnancy may increase the risk of birth defects, such as neural tube defects. Furthermore, maternal vitamin B12 deficiency may contribute to premature birth or miscarriage .
One study found that women with vitamin B12 levels lower than 250 mg/dL were three times more likely to give birth to a child with birth defects, compared to those with adequate levels .
For women with a vitamin B12 deficiency and levels below 150 mg/dL the risk was five times higher, compared to women with levels above 400 mg/dL .
Appropriate vitamin B12 levels are key to a healthy pregnancy. Theyre important for the prevention of brain and spinal cord birth defects.
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Assessment Of Memory Functions
Learning and memory performances of all MCI patients were tested with the use of the German version of the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test . Patients were asked to learn a list of 15 words within 5 immediate recall trials followed by a 30-min delayed recall and delayed recognition test. Learning ability was defined as the sum of words learned in all 5 trials delayed recall represented the total number of remembered words after 30 min . For delayed recognition, MCI patients were asked to recognize the 15 original words presented within 35 distractor words subsequent to the delayed recall tests . All testing was conducted by trained staff members according to standard procedures.
Folic Acid Aka Vitamin B
Folate, different forms of which are also known as folic acid, folacin, and vitamin B , is one of the essential vitamins coming from the B group of vitamins.
In most cases, vitamin B ought to be taken by mouth or by injection.
The approved daily intake of vitamin B for adults in the U.S. is four hundred micrograms from food or dietary supplements.
In the form of folic acid, folate is mostly used in order to treat anemia that is caused by the deficiency of folic acid.
Meanwhile, folic acid belongs to different compounds that are primarily known as folates and can be obtained from various foods such as spinach, asparagus, lentils, and so forth.
Half of an individuals bodys stores of this vitamin are collected in the liver, which is the primary reason why liver damage can lead to a shortage of several essential vitamins from the B group.
Speaking of its role in the synthesis of amino acids and the formation of nerve tissue, folic acid also plays quite an essential role in this regard.
When it comes to its metabolism, the metabolism of folic acid is profoundly dependent on the supply of other vitamins of the B group.
From here, a deficiency of this and other B-vitamins is linked to some developmental problems in children.
Moreover, a recent study conducted on this matter revealed that memory of aged rats was significantly improved with the intake of various folic acid supplements by the hamsters over the course of eight weeks.
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Study Shows Vitamin B12 And Folate Deficiencies Are Common In Seniors
Scientists at Trinity College Dublin, in Ireland, conducted the study, called the Irish Longitudinal Study on Aging . In the study, 5,290 adults aged 50 and older submitted their medical records for research. Researchers then observed medical records for evidence of deficiencies in vitamin B12 and folate. The study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, was the largest study on the status of B vitamins in seniors.
Once the data from the study was evaluated, the researchers discovered that 1 in 8 seniors was deficient or low in B-12 and 1 in 7 seniors had low folate levels or was considered folate deficient.
There are striking differences in the prevalence of deficiency across different lifestyle factors such as obesity and smoking both of which are modifiable risk factors, said Dr. Eamon Laird, the lead study author.
Subtract The Substances That Dont Do A Brain Good
Substances like alcohol, illicit or recreational drugs, and nicotine not only do nothing to improve cognition, they may also make your brain less healthy. A little alcohol may be good for you, but more certainly isnt better. In fact, according to a 2008 study published in the Annals of Neurology, excessive alcohol consumption causes parts of the brain to wither, which can cause memory loss and other cognitive issues.
Many people think about nicotine and smoking as a lung or heart issue, but researchers are investigating claims that it causes a lack of blood flow to the cerebrum. To keep your brain healthy, the first step is to stop flooding your body with toxic substances.
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Best Foods For The Brain
This fruit is one of the healthiest ones you can consume and one of my all-time favorites. While avocados often get a bad rep because of their high fat content, its important to note that these green powerhouses are packed with monosaturated fats or the good kind, keeping blood sugar levels steady and your skin glowing.
Containing both vitamin K and folate, avocados help prevent blood clots in the brain as well as help improve cognitive function, especially both memory and concentration.
Theyre also rich in vitamin B and vitamin C, which arent stored in your body and need to be replenished daily. Plus, they have the highest protein and lowest sugar content of any fruit. Not too shabby!
Avocados creamy texture makes them a smart addition to smoothies and a replacement for fats in baked goods, or try these brain foods in one of these 50 amazing and easy avocado recipes.
It might be their funny shape or memories of bad recipes eaten during childhood, but beets seem to be an intimidating food for many people, even vegetable lovers. Thats a shame, because these root vegetables are some of the most nutritious plants you can eat.
They reduce inflammation, are high in cancer-protecting antioxidants and help rid your blood of toxins. The natural nitrates in beets actually boost blood flow to the brain, helping with mental performance. Plus, during tough workouts, beets actually help boost energy and performance levels. Try them in this borscht recipe.
Lack Of Intrinsic Factor
In a very small portion of the population, vitamin B12 deficiency is caused by a lack of intrinsic factor, a protein secreted by the stomach lining that binds to vitamin B12 and enables its absorption.
Lack of intrinsic factor can be caused by weakened stomach lining or certain autoimmune diseases.
This can lead to pernicious anemia, a decrease in red blood cells that occurs when the intestines cannot properly absorb vitamin B12.
If left untreated, it ultimately leads to serious neurological damage.
Treatment usually involves mega-doses of oral B12 or regular B12 injections.
If you suspect that you have a lack of intrinsic factor, discuss this with your doctor as soon as possible.
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