The latest research by Prof. David Smith from the Oxford Project* have shown that people who consume more vitamin B have reduced risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
“The accelerated rate of brain atrophy in elderly with mild cognitive impairment can be slowed by treatment with homocysteine-lowering B vitamins. Sixteen percent of those over 70 y old have mild cognitive impairment and half of these develop Alzheimer’s disease. Since accelerated brain atrophy is a characteristic of subjects with mild cognitive impairment who convert to Alzheimer’s disease, trials are needed to see if the same treatment will delay the development of Alzheimer’s disease.” David Smith
This research is very likely going to result in new medicines that will help people at risk of developing dementia (generally hereditary risk) being prescribed very soon. However, a diet that is rich in vitamin B will also help prevent dementia.
Which B Vitamins Will Help Prevent Dementia?
Not all B vitamins will help, but there are several that do:
- Folic Acid
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B12
These vitamins literally help to prevent brain shrinkage from occurring. Scientists do not currently understand the actual process, but these B vitamins protect the brain to slow down its deterioration.
Where Can You Naturally Find These B Vitamins?
These vitamins are found in abundance in a healthy, well balanced diet. However, few people manage to eat a healthy and well balanced diet throughout their whole life. Folic Acid supplements are given to pregnant women as many people suffer a deficiency.
You can find Folic Acid in these foods:
- Brussels sprouts
- Brown rice
Vitamin B6 is found in the following foods:
- Chicken breasts
- Calf’s liver
Vitamin B12 is mostly found in seafood – once again proof that the old wive’s tale that fish is good for he brain is really true!
- Clams, oysters and mussels
- Lamb liver, beef liver, and other livers
- Crab and Lobster
- Red meats – beef and lamb
- Swiss cheese
Eat a Balanced Diet for a Healthy Brain
It seems that a balanced diet is not just good for weight management, but also for long term mental health. None of these food sources are rare or hard to get hold of. However, all too often people avoid them. Many people avoid seafood thinking that they will get food poisoning, others avoid red meat due to the fear of heart disease, and many more people avoid colorful, fresh vegetables that are abundant in vitamin B.
So, time to make some fish pies, egg salads and enjoy your weekly trip to the fishmongers / fish and chip takeaway. It is worth pointing out that the popular Mediteranean Diet that helps people to reduce risk of cancer is very much like this. Note – no breads, no pastas or white rice. Starch is low, sugar is low, protein and nutritious vegetables are all high on the shopping list.
Not only will eating a diet high in Vitamin B help keep your mind healthy, it will also help you manage your weight.
Smith AD, Smith SM, de Jager CA, Whitbread P, Johnston C, et al. (2010) Homocysteine-Lowering by B Vitamins Slows the Rate of Accelerated Brain Atrophy in Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Randomized Controlled Trial. PLoS ONE 5(9): e12244. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0012244
The Oxford Project
The Oxford Project refers to the project set up to investigate memory and ageing (OPTIMA) at the University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.