Archive for the ‘B Vitamins’ Category

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Omega-3 Fat Ratio and B Vitamins Slow Alzheimer’s Disease

February 20, 2012
Alzheimer's Disease is Largely Precipitated by Poor Nutritional Factors

Alzheimer's Disease is Largely Precipitated by Poor Nutritional Factors

Proper nutritional status attained by consuming a healthy diet teaming with natural vitamins and minerals along with optimization of omega fat lipid ratios can help to prevent cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathology. Researchers studying the effects of nutrition at Oxford University in England found that daily supplementation with folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12 lowered levels of homocysteine, a known risk factor leading to decline in cognition and memory.

Further evidence published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research explains that a disproportionate ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids plays a crucial role in the development of AD in later life. Cellular nutritional saturation from diet and appropriate supplementation with B vitamins and omega-3 fats may provide the cornerstone to prevent this most feared memory-robbing disease.

B Vitamin Supplementation Shown to Lower Homocysteine by 30% and Slow Brain Atrophy

Study Finds B Vitamins Lowers Homocysteine to Reduce Alzheimer's Risk

Study Finds B Vitamins Lowers Homocysteine to Reduce Alzheimer's Risk

Reporting in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, scientists examined the proposed link between elevated homocysteine levels and cognitive decline. Homocysteine has already been shown to dramatically increase the risk of heart disease and heart attack in prior studies. Researchers examined 266 people over the age of 70 with established mild cognitive impairment, and broke them into two groups. One group was supplemented with folic acid, vitamin B6 and B12, vitamin cofactors that lower homocysteine levels, while the second group received a placebo.

Brain wasting or atrophy is a common sign of cognitive impairment and is closely associated with Alzheimer’s dementia. The rate of brain atrophy is increased by higher concentrations of homocysteine in the blood and brain tissue. Researchers examining the results of this study found that the group supplemented with B vitamins for a period of two years experienced a 30% reduction in homocysteine levels. They found dramatic improvements in mental tests including global cognition and episodic memory (69% improvement in word recall memory) compared to the control group.

Omega-6 to Omega-3 Fat Ratio in Diet Creates an Imbalance in the Brain

Improper Omega Fat Ratio in Diet Slows Alzheimer's Disease Progression

Improper Omega Fat Ratio in Diet Slows Alzheimer's Disease Progression

The standard American diet (SAD) includes large quantities of oxidized omega-6 fats from fried and processed foods when compared to omega-3 fat consumption (from fish, nuts and seeds). The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids ranges from 20:1 to as high as 50:1 (ideal range is no more than 4:1), creating a perpetual degree of inflammation throughout the body. Researchers have determined that this imbalance creates a disturbance in brain chemistry affecting neurotransmitter balance and electrical firing in the brain that sets the stage for amyloid tangles and cognitive decline.

Reestablishing omega fat homeostasis by balancing toward a 1:1 intake ratio and correcting B vitamin nutritional deficiencies provide deep insight toward understanding and controlling risk factors for the development of many forms of dementia including Alzheimer’s disease. Most middle aged adults will want to include a high potency B vitamin supplement (preferably formulated from natural food sources) and include omega-3 fats from diet or fish oil consumption to lower dementia risk factors.

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B Vitamins Lower Stroke Risk by a Quarter

June 13, 2011
Dietary Folate Lowers Stroke Risk by a Quarter

Dietary Folate Lowers Stroke Risk by a Quarter

Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in America each year with 700,000 people suffering needlessly from this debilitating illness. Stroke attacks with virtually no warning and can leave its victims unable to walk or perform the simplest task. Stroke risk increases with age, number of years consuming a nutrient-deficient diet and inactive lifestyle in a similar manner to heart disease.

Research published in the Lancet shows that members of the B-vitamin family, specifically folate (vitamin B9) from leafy green vegetables provide essential support to protect the vascular system by lowering platelet aggregation and levels of atherogenic homocysteine.

High Folate from Raw Vegetables Lower Stroke Risk by 25%

Raw Spinach is an Excellent Source of B Vitamin Folate

Raw Spinach is an Excellent Source of B Vitamin Folate

Researchers from the Northwestern School of Medicine performed a meta-analysis of eight significant studies and found that supplementation with folic acid reduced dangerous levels of homocysteine by 20% and lowered first time risk of a stroke by 25%. For individuals at risk for a second stroke, the incidence was lowered by 18%.

The human body requires folate to synthesize, repair and methylate DNA for cellular division and replication. Folate also helps to lower concentrations of homocysteine in the blood that are known to aggravate the inner endothelial lining of the vessels and arteries that feed the heart and brain. As a result of their analysis, the study authors concluded “Our findings indicate that folic acid supplementation can effectively reduce the risk of stroke in primary prevention.”

Folic Acid Supplementation Lowers Heart Attack Risk by 15%

Supplemental Folate Lowers Heart Attack Risk by 15%

Supplemental Folate Lowers Heart Attack Risk by 15%

In a similar meta-study published in the journal PLoS ONE, researchers found that supplementation with folic acid lowered the risk of a first heart attack by 15%. Elevated levels of homocysteine cause blood platelets to stick together and clump, increasing the risk of a thrombus or clot circulating to the coronary arteries and resulting in a heart attack. The entire family of B-vitamins is known to be critical to the prevention of heart disease and stroke by reducing arterial plaque accumulation and acting as a cofactor in cellular metabolism.

Deficiency in B vitamins and specifically folate has been linked with brain aging and cognitive decline. Folate provides a basic foundation for nerve health and brain aging and when reserves become lowered, toxic free radical damage is allowed to wreak havoc in the brain. In one study, individuals with the lowest levels of circulating folate experienced increased incidence of cognitive decline, poor mental function and risk of depression.

Top natural food sources of folate include leafy greens and vegetables including spinach, asparagus, parsley, broccoli and beets. Beans such as pinto, navy, black and kidney varieties provide a healthy dose of the nutrient as well. Depending on diet it may be necessary to supplement with folic acid. Nutrition experts recommend between 400 and 800 mcg daily taken with food to minimize your risk of stroke, heart disease and cognitive decline.

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B Vitamins Key to Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention

April 9, 2011
Alzheimer's Disease is Growing at an Unprecedented Rate

Alzheimer's Disease is Growing at an Unprecedented Rate

Alzheimer’s disease cases are growing at an unprecedented rate with new cases expected to double by the year 2030. A news release from Alzheimer’s Disease International considers this the single most significant health and social crisis of the 21st century. There is much confusion about the factors that lead to Alzheimer’s and what can be done to prevent and reduce the risk of developing this insidious affliction.

Natural health practitioners understand that poor diet is a large contributor to this preventable disease. In addition to diet, new research is beginning to shine a light on a super nutrient that could hold the key to prevention.

High Homocysteine Doubles Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

Homocysteine is a naturally occurring amino acid commonly seen in excess due to a diet high in meat and protein sources. Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine demonstrated that elevated homocysteine levels double the risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and B12 are known to dramatically lower levels of homocysteine in the blood and lower risk of disease.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Linked with Alzheimer’s Disease

Vitamin B12 Helps the Brain Clear Deadly Plaque Accumulations

Vitamin B12 Helps the Brain Clear Deadly Plaque Accumulations

Evidence is mounting to suggest that a vitamin B12 deficiency may be connected to increased risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. The results of a study released in the journal Neurology studied the level of homocysteine and vitamin B12 in elderly subjects. They found that for every single unit increase in the blood level of homocysteine, the risk of Alzheimer’s disease jumped by 16%. Similarly, risk decreased by 2% for each unit increase in blood concentration of Vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is known to become dangerously low with age, and represents a significant factor in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

Brain Shrinkage Cut by Half with B Vitamins

The normal shrinking of the brain with age is considered normal by modern medicine, but scientists have been able to show that shrinkage can be halted and reduced with high doses of B vitamins. Researchers at Oxford University supplemented test participants with full spectrum B vitamins for a period of 2 years and found that they were able to reduce brain shrinkage in half as compared to a group receiving a placebo. The study authors conclude, “It is our hope that this simple and safe treatment will delay development of Alzheimer’s in many people who suffer from mild memory problems.”

Protect Yourself by Reducing Meat and Supplementing B Vitamins

Reducing Meat Can Help Lower Dangerous Homocysteine Levels

Reducing Meat Can Help Lower Dangerous Homocysteine Levels

More than enough evidence is mounting to show that poor diet and lack of B vitamins represent independent risk factors for developing Alzheimer’s disease. You can lower your risk of developing this disease by eating a diet low in animal protein to restrict production of homocysteine. Cut sugar and processed carbs in favor of a diet packed with fresh vegetables and natural nuts, seeds and Omega-3 fats. Take a high potency organic whole food based B vitamin supplement daily, and be sure to have your homocysteine blood levels checked regularly.

Research is confirming that diet is the single most important risk factor that leads to Alzheimer’s disease. Many studies are beginning to show that B vitamins are critical to brain health and can prevent dementia in the aging population. While the entire family of B vitamins protects the brain, most studies concentrate on B6 and B12 taken in quantities that are 300 to 500% higher than the RDA values. Lower your risks of Alzheimer’s by modifying your diet and supplement accordingly to slash risk factors that can extend your life.