Omega-3 and B vitamins arrest Alzheimer’s brain shrinkage
A recently published, ground-breaking study suggests that a combination of B vitamins and omega-3 from oily fish could be an effective preventative measure against brain shrinkage associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers at Oxford University gave 168 people over 70, with the first signs of memory loss, either high dose B vitamins or dummy pills and monitored shrinkage with advanced brain scans over a two year period.
They found that those taking the extra B vitamins, who started with high omega-3 levels in their blood, had 70% less brain shrinkage, reaching about the same degree of shrinkage as is normally found in healthy elderly people with no memory decline. The results were reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in April (Jerneren et al).
The study suggests that at least one third of the British population could significantly reduce their risk of developing Alzheimer’s simply by taking in enough omega-3 fats and supplementing B vitamins.
“This is a very encouraging result,” said Professor David Smith from Oxford University, whose research group led the study. “It means that something so simple as keeping your omega-3 levels high and supplementing B vitamins if you are at risk (with a high homocysteine level) could dramatically reduce a person’s risk. We should be screening people for the early signs of cognitive impairment and then testing their homocysteine and omega-3 status.”
iiaa is a firm supporter of work by the charitable Food for the Brain Foundation, which campaigns for nutritional interventions in Alzheimer’s prevention to be taken seriously. According to nutritionist Patrick Holford, from the Foundation, “At least half the risk for Alzheimer’s is preventable, while only 1% of cases are caused by genes.”