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Vitamins may play a larger role in slowing brain decline

2 min read

The brain benefits of omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and polyphenols is well documented however the findings of a new review study suggests members of the B vitamin family are equally as effective.

The research team believe that together these nutrients may form a powerful nutrition strategy to reduce the risk of cognitive and mental disorders and improve quality of life for the elderly.

46.8 million people are living with dementia across the globe

The latest statistics reveal that around 46.8 million people are living with dementia across the globe, and scarily this figure is expected to double in the next two decades.

Further to this, depression is a leading cause of disability, currently costing around £7.5 billion annually in England. This is predicted to increase by 67% by 2026.

While the role of nutrients in supporting brain health has never been discounted, it can be said that it is often underestimated and this is in large part down to studies showing inconsistent results, which in turn stems from uncertain methodology and study design.

Folate and vitamin B12 may have significant role in the long term management of brain health

The latest research review that we are talking about here, was carried out by Ulster University in the UK and it concluded that folate and vitamin B12 may have significant roles in the long term management of brain health.

'If the findings of studies described in this review, which show promise in relation to B vitamins, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and polyphenols, are confirmed, a public health strategy to improve status of these key nutrients may help to achieve better cognitive and mental health ageing.'

Continuing further, the review stated:

'It is clear that further well-designed randomised controlled trials are needed, especially those targeting participants with low vitamin B status as they are likely to benefit the most from increasing B vitamins concentrations to achieve better cognitive health in ageing.'

Where can you get folate and vitamin B12 from?

Folate is found in small amounts in many foods. Good sources include: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, liver (but avoid this during pregnancy), spinach, asparagus, peas, chickpeas and fortified breakfast cereals.

Good sources of vitamin B12 include meat, salmon, cod, milk, cheese, eggs and some fortified breakfast cereals. Due to the fact vitamin B12 isn't found naturally in foods such as fruit, vegetables and grains, it means vegans may not get enough of it.

How much do you need to take?

Adults need 200mcg of folic acid a day and about 1.5mcg a day of vitamin B12. The B vitamins are water soluble meaning they can't be stored in the body, so are needed in your diet every day.

If you are worried about getting sufficient amounts through diet along, a supplement offers an easy and efficient way of ensuring you get your daily quota.

A healthy balanced diet is the best way to consume all the nutrients we need. Sometimes however this isn't possible and then supplements can help. This article isn't intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying any supplements or herbal medicines.