People with diets high in vitamins or omega 3 fatty acids are less likely to suffer brain shrinkage associated with Alzheimer’s disease than people whose diets are not high in these substances, according to a new study published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. People with diets high in omega 3 fatty acids and vitamins C, D, E and B complex vitamins also get higher scores on mental tests than people with diets low in foods containing these elements. Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D are mainly in the fish, while the B and the antioxidant vitamins C and E are found primarily in fruits and vegetables.
The study also showed that people with diets high in trans fats are more likely to suffer brain shrinkage and lower scores on mental and memory tests than people with diets low in trans fats. Trans fats are primarily found in fast food, fried, frozen, baked goods and margarine. Trans fats are unsaturated fatty acids are formed when vegetable oils are processed and become stronger.
The study involved 104 people with an average age of 87 years and few risk factors for cognitive problems. Blood tests were used to determine the levels of various nutrients in each participant, those who also underwent tests memory and cognitive skills. We also performed an MRI to a total of 42 participants to measure their brain volume. Overall, the participants had good nutritional status, but seven percent were deficient in vitamin B12 and 25 percent vitamin deficiency.
The study author Dr Gene Bowman of the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland (USA) and a member of the American Academy of Neurology affirms the nutrient bio markers in the blood represent a significant , variation in brain volume, cognition and memory. In the cognitive and memory scores, the nutrient bio markers accounted for 17 percent of the variation, other factors, such as age, number of years of education and high blood pressure accounted for 46 percent of the variation, for brain volume, the nutrient bio markers accounted for 37 percent of the variation.
The study was the first to use nutrient bio markers in the blood to analyze the effect of diet on cognitive skills and brain volume, previous studies have observed only one or a few nutrients at a time or have used questionnaires to assess people’s diet, however, the questionnaires are based on what people remember from your diet, and do not take into account the amount of nutrients that are actually absorbed by the body.