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I often am asked by people in their fifties and a few people in their forties as to what they can do to prevent the development of Alzheimer’s Disease. Because there is a growing number of people with this disorder, the fear of contracting this disease is growing. During my years in medical school I saw one patient with Alzheimer’s. That was in 1975.  It was considered to be a rare disorder. 

 

Now there is an epidemic, that I believe is by in large caused by yet to be determined environmental causes.  Our genes and family history play a small role in the development of this disorder. This study shares some insight into the role B vitamins and zinc play in the prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease.

 

Brain shrinkage, also known as atrophy is a very common physical change that happens with mild cognitive impairment, and can be an early sign of dementia.  So you know from the previous report taking omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce  shrinkage in very important areas of the brain.

 

Also, very important to brain function, studies conducted a few years ago  have found that high levels of homocysteine, a toxic amino acid are associated with confirmed or suspected dementia.  The large, multiple decade Framingham study has reported that people with high levels of homocysteine (levels above 14 micromoles/liter) had and double risk of developing dementia.

Vitamin B deficiency is linked to higher levels of homocysteine, as they are required factors and aid the enzymes involved in homocysteine metabolism.

 

Public Library of Science One published a study that observed a link between lower homocysteine levels and B vitamin supplementation, that reduces brain shrinkage and slows the development of dementia.

 

The study evaluated 168 participants over a two year period.  It determined that the participants taking B vitamin supplements experienced an average 30 percent reduction of brain shrinkage, while some had more than a 50 per cent reduction.

 

The study’s authors wrote, “B vitamin treatment led to a difference in final homocysteine concentration of 31.7 percent compared with the placebo, and was accompanied by a reduction in the rate of brain atrophy of almost 30 percent.

 

They concluded that the vitamin B homocysteine-lowering vitamins could reduce the increased rate of brain shrinkage in senior citizen people with mild cognitive impairment.

 

 Source:

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0012244

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