A lot has been written about how the right nutrients can help your brain stay in better shape as you get older.
To test some of those claims, researchers in Europe spent two years investigating the results of a unique combination of some of today’s most popular memory-saving nutrients.
Let’s take a closer look at the nutrients they chose and what they found…
For years scientists have pointed to fatty acids, vitamins, and other micronutrients as the ultimate brain-savers. Studies have shown that these nutrients can do everything from staving off Alzheimer’s disease to sharpening faltering memories. Researchers wondered, what would these nutrients do in combination?
Tested In People With Memory Loss
A team of European scientists enlisted more than 300 people in eleven different medical centers in Germany, Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden for an intensive investigation. What’s more, all these people were in an early stage of memory loss and had what’s called MCI (moderate cognitive impairment). That condition is linked to a significant rise in the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Then, in a randomized, double-blind study, half the people were given a multi-nutrient combination the team called a “daily medical food” and the other half took a non-active supplement. The nutrients in this daily medical food were:
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
Vitamins B6 and B12
Vitamins C and E
Uridine monophosphate (a little-known nutrient that helps form cellular membranes)
And they got positive results!
While the multi-nutrient combination did not prove to be a complete cure for ailing brains, it significantly helped brain tissue grow healthier and memory stay sharper.
Memories Improved 45 Percent
The research demonstrated that the people in the study consuming this nutrient combination enjoyed important advantages over the folks who were in the control group.
While their memories were already going downhill before the study began, their mental tests showed that on a measure called the Clinical Dementia Rating -Sum of Box (CDR-SB), the worsening of their intellectual abilites was 45 percent less severe than people not getting brain-support supplement.
In addtion, their brains shrank less – 26 percent less – in the hippocampus (an important brain memory center) and they enjoyed 16 percent less atrophy in ventricular volume.
The researchers also found that the longer the nutrients were consumed, the better the results. So, they believe taking the nutrients as a preventive measure before cognitive problems start is the best idea.
Why Do They Work?
One interesting theory is that many of these nutrients in the “daily medical food” supplement are necessary for what’s called the “Kennedy Cycle,” which is the biochemical pathway in the brain for creating new membranes for neurons.
According to research at MIT, supplementing with EPA, DHA, uridine and choline, which were some of the nutrients used in the European research, can help improve the brain’s ability to use the Kennedy Cycle to create new synapses. As a result, studies show that this can improve memory and learning ability.
People With Alzheimer’s Are Missing Important Nutrients
This research provides more good evidence that all of us need to understand how to take advantage of the right nutrients for keeping our brains strong and healthy as we age. This is especially true for people with Alzheimer’s disease.
In analyzing the results, the European scientists who conducted this study point out that even when they eat a normal diet, people with Alzheimer’s have been found to have lower levels of DHA, folate, and vitamins B12, C and E in their blood.
They also explain how aging brains absorb less choline with the passing years. Many scientists and alternative health doctors have long believed that restoring levels of these nutrients have a dramatic impact on the health of the brain and the strength of one’s memory. I agree…
While the list of brain-boosting nutrients used in the study is certainly not exhaustive —there are many more– these are some of the easiest to access and most popular.
My take on this new research is that it reaffirms what knowledgeable researchers and healthcare practitioners have been saying for quite a while – better nutrition can help all of us enjoy healthier brains and stronger memories as we age.
In fact, even though further research into this “daily medical food” supplement is being called for, you don’t have to wait for more definitive studies to take advantage of the benefits. You can begin adding supplements of these nutrients to your daily regimen today—they’re all readily available in health food stores.