There’s no way around aging, we’re all going to face this inevitable process, sooner or later and there’s nothing we can do about it. What we can do is slow it down and prevent some of the consequences associated with aging. Statistics show that one in every 5 people after reaching 70 years of age will face some kind of cognitive impairment and if nothing is done that cognitive impairment will only progress to serious conditions and even lead to death.
According to a study conducted back in 1990 which analyzed about 22 patients suffering from Alzheimer’s it was discovered that every one of them had elevated homocysteine levels in their blood. An earlier study, from 1969, had similar results.
A pathologist from Harvard reported two cases of children’s brains turning to mush after discovering that both of them had a rare genetic disorder and significantly increased homocysteine levels in their blood.
In recent years, health experts acknowledge that homocysteine is a powerful risk factor for the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Another study revealed that one in every 6 patients suffering from Alzheimer’s developed the disease as a result of elevated homocysteine levels which caused memory decline, cognitive problems and brain damage.
To lower the homocysteine levels in the blood the body needs 3 essential vitamins, B6, B12 and folate. At first, studies didn’t give any conclusive results. One controlled trial summarized that supplementing with vitamin B to reduce the homocysteine levels can slow down the accelerated brain atrophy but only in patients with mild forms of cognitive impairment.
It’s normal for the brain to start atrophying as the years go by, but in people suffering from Alzheimer’s the rate is significantly accelerated, while in patients with mild cognitive impairment the rate is intermediate. It would only be logical to assume that slowing down the brain atrophy can help us prevent the escalation of Alzheimer’s related symptoms.
People who were on vitamin B supplements for 2 years showed significantly slower brain shrinkage while those who had high homocysteine levels cut this shrinkage in half.
According to research, a treatment with B vitamins can reduce the brain atrophy by seven folds, especially in the areas prone to cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s
How to improve our intake of vitamins B and folate? Well, to be honest, most people aren’t lacking in vitamins B, but the folate levels are super low. Folate can be found in green vegies and beans. According to one study, consuming plenty of greens can actually lower the homocysteine levels by 20% in only a week.
Experts believe that it’s probably due to the fact that plants are rich in fibers, and the more fiber you ingest the higher the folate levels in your organism. This in turn reduces the methionine intake and stimulates the vitamin production in the colon.
And what is methionine and is it important? It’s what’s left after breakdown of animal protein and a limited intake of this compound can get the homocysteine levels under control.
However, it was shown that people who mainly eat plants have very bad homocysteine levels, which is a result of insufficient B12 intake even though their diet is rich in folate and fiber.
Vegans have an increased risk of developing hyperhomocysteinaemia (high levels of homocysteine) as a result of the low intake of food rich in vitamin B12. But if they increase the vitamin B12 intake they will be able to benefit from the plant-based diet and also prevent brain damage.
The end line is that a healthy balance of these three vitamins is essential if you want to prevent cognitive damage and promote brain function.
Article and image source: http://checkthesethings.com/3-vitamins-prevent-brain-loss-2/