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A Tale of Two Nutrients: How You Can Use B Vitamins To Prevent Alzheimer’s

Posted by on Thursday, December 6th, 2012

Today, we’re going to tell you the tale of a special relationship between something you’ve certainly heard of and another you probably haven’t but should know equally as well.  This is the story of B vitamins and homocysteine, what they are, how they function in our bodies, and what you need to do to manage them to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

Preventing Alzheimer's with B Vitamins

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Most people are familiar with B vitamins. Even if you can’t name all of them, you should at least know they exist and that they are good for you. It just so happens that several studies have shown real promise for B vitamins and their ability to ward off cognitive decline, specifically B6, B12, and Folic Acid.  A study was conducted at Oxford that showed a 30% decline in natural brain shrinkage when subjects were given a daily pill containing 20mg of B6, 500 micrograms of B12, and 800 micrograms of Folic Acid daily.

B Vitamins Manage Homocysteine To Prevent Alzheimer's

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So, how does homocysteine fit into this picture? Well, homocysteine is an amino acid found in our blood. B vitamins break down homocysteine in our bodies, and under ideal conditions, B vitamins keep homocysteine in check. If we don’t consume enough B vitamins, the homocysteine levels increase to a level that places a burden on our bodies and may lead to disease. It is now believed that homocysteine may play a key role in many of the serious diseases attributed to the Standard American Diet (SAD): heart disease, stroke, and Alzheimer’s.

 

Standard American Diet and Preventing Alzheimer's

 

Naturally, this means we need to be consuming more B vitamins and less meat. High concentrations of B vitamins can be found in leafy green vegetables, whole grains, beans, and meat.  There are also vitamin B supplements available at minimal cost, and it’s probably worthwhile to start adding those vitamins to your daily supplement repertoire, but you should consult your doctor to find out how much you should take.

As for homocysteine, you should have it measured by your doctor as part of your annual blood workup now and every year after. If you are in a position where you need to lower it – and most of us are – you should eat less meat, more fish, and more vegetables and whole grains.

Leafy Greens High in B Vitamins for Alzheimer's Prevention

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Here is a list of some of the foods with the highest B vitamin content:

-Leafy greens such as kale, spinach, parsley, collards, and chard – try them in juices and smoothies

-Legumes such as beans, lentils, and peas.

-Whole grains such as spelt, whole wheat, and rye. Try to replace white flour with spelt flour in recipes to increase nutrient content in bread and other baked goods.

-Nuts and seeds such as pistachios, hazelnuts, and sunflower seeds.

-Meat and dairy products are high in B12, but you should eat meat in moderation to maintain homocysteine levels. Choose non-fat or low-fat dairy, and make sure you’re consuming enough vegetables, whole grains, and legumes to keep your homocysteine levels in check.

By adding these foods to your diet, and consuming less meat, you will be combating not just Alzheimer’s disease, but all of the most serious diet-related illnesses we currently face.

 

For more easy to follow nutrition advice check out The Alzheimer’s Diet: A Step-by-Step Nutritional Approach to Memory Loss Prevention and Treatment, or visit theadplan.com to learn more about Neurologist, Dr. Richard Isaacson's 9 week diet plan and his cutting edge approach in the fight against AD in Alzheimer's Treatment | Alzheimer's Prevention: A Patient and Family Guide 2012 Edition. Also, sign up for the newsletter to get the latest updates in AD treatment and prevention news.

6 Responses to “A Tale of Two Nutrients: How You Can Use B Vitamins To Prevent Alzheimer’s”

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