Posted on Mon, 12 Mar 12
Studies of single or a few nutrients for the prevention of dementia have ignored how nutrients work, in combination. A new report has identified nutrient profiles that can help or harm your brain.
Some 30 nutrient biomarkers were measured in the blood of a group of older age men and women taking part in a Brain Aging Study. The biomarkers were then correlated with markers of brain health such as cognitive function and brain size (white matter volume).
Two distinct nutrient patterns were associated with better brain health, one high in blood levels of vitamins (B1, B2, B6, folate, B12, C, D, and E) and another high in marine omega-3 fatty acids. Trans fats on the other hand were associated with poor brain function and lower white matter volume.
Interestingly the vitamin pattern seemed to reduce brain degeneration while the omega-3 profile appeared to work by improving vascular health.
The take home: a nutrient dense diet (based on lean meats, oily fish, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes and whole grains) also low in trans fats (mostly found in bakery foods such as cookies, doughnuts, cakes, pastries, and pies) may protect your brain from cognitive decline and dementia.
Bowman GL, Silbert LC, Howieson D, Dodge HH, Traber MG, Frei B, Kaye JA, Shannon J, Quinn JF. Nutrient biomarker patterns, cognitive function, and MRI measures of brain aging. Neurology. 2012 Jan 24;78(4):241-9.