Are memory loss and decreased brain power inevitable as we age? Many people in their 40s, 50s or more are told that they are and that there is nothing they can do about it. That's true? Of course not! Brain cells are the most complex, long-lived and nutritionally demanding in the body. Studies have shown that intelligence, memory, behavior and concentration are all influenced by nutrition. Young or old, our nutritional status plays a vital role in determining the proper functioning of our brain.
Supernutrition for Brain Health
A basic goal for brain health is to give it a "supernutrition" bath. Simply put, high nutritional status equals higher mental functioning. Given the frequency of nutrient deficiency in the elderly population, it is likely that many cases of impaired functioning of the mind have a nutritional cause. A study conducted at the Oxford Department of Clinical Neuroscience involved 156 elderly patients with some moderate cognitive impairment and a high risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease. The patients were divided into two groups: one group took a daily supplement containing 800 mcg of folic acid, 20 mcg of vitamin B6 and 500 mcg of vitamin B12 ; the other group took a placebo.
Before and during the test period, the researchers used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to measure the levels of gray matter atrophy in patients' brains. The shrinking (shrinking) of gray matter is a sign of the progression of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. After completing the two-year study, the researchers found that those who received the supplement had about seven times less atrophy than the placebo group. The study also found that those whose gray matter shrank faster had higher levels of homocysteine , and those with higher levels of homocysteine initially received the greatest benefit from supplementation. In their conclusion, the researchers stated: "Our results show that vitamin B supplementation can delay the atrophy of specific brain regions that are an essential component of the Alzheimer's disease process and that are associated with cognitive decline." In addition to taking a formula of several high-potency vitamins and minerals to provide supernutrition to the brain, it makes sense to add 1,000 to 3,000 mg of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA) combined in a quality fish oil . A higher intake of these omega-3 fatty acids is associated with high levels of mood and mental functioning. If symptoms of mental deterioration are definitely present in a person 50 years of age or older, consider phosphatidylserine (PS) , which plays an important role in determining the integrity and fluidity of brain cell membranes. More than a dozen double-blind studies have shown that PS can help improve mental functioning, mood and behavior in patients with degenerative brain diseases. Try 100 mg three times a day.
The Best Foods for the Brain
The main dietary factors that reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease from population-based studies are the higher consumption of fish (and omega-3 fatty acids), monounsaturated fatty acids (mainly olive oil), light use moderate alcohol (mainly red wine), and increased consumption of non-starchy vegetables and fruits. A combination of all of these factors is likely to provide the highest degree of protection. Blueberries or blueberry extracts are particularly useful. When the older mice were given the human equivalent of 1 cup of blueberries a day, they demonstrated significant improvements in learning and motor skills, making them mentally equivalent to younger mice. When the rats' brains were examined, it was found that the brain cells of those who received blueberries communicated more efficiently than those of the mice that did not receive blueberries. An alternative to consuming more blueberries is to take an extract rich in flavonoids, such as grape seed or pine bark extract (100 to 300 mg per day). Celery and celery seed extracts contain a compound, 3-n-butylphthalide (3nB), which has benefits for brain health. In studies with humans and animals, 3nB significantly improved learning deficits, as well as long-term spatial memory. The researchers concluded that "3nB demonstrates a promising preclinical potential as a drug that attacks the problem on multiple fronts for the prevention and / or treatment of Alzheimer's disease".