Researchers from the Australian National University have shown that essential B vitamins combat stress that results in a loss of memory and normal thought patterns that cause abnormal brain aging. Published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, scientists found that long-term supplementation of daily folic acid and vitamin B-12 promotes improvement in cognitive functioning after a period of two years, particularly in immediate and delayed memory performance. B vitamins are crucial for nerve transmission and are needed in higher amounts as your stress level increases. Health-minded adults will want to ensure that they obtain an optimal daily dose of these important vitamins from diet or supplemental sources.
The study leader, Dr. Janine Walker and her team conducted a two year intervention among elderly participants confined in a community-dwelling environment. All participants exhibited symptoms of depression and were under moderate stress due to environmental and lifestyle conditions. The study was designed to determine if nutritional intervention could prevent cognitive decline under randomized and controlled conditions.
Folic acid and vitamin B-12 fight brain stress and inflammation in the elderly
Researchers supplemented one group of study volunteers with an oral dosage of 400 micrograms of folic acid and 100 micrograms of vitamin B-12 daily. This group was compared against a control set of participants that received a placebo. The results were measured at twelve- and twenty-four month intervals using the Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status Standardized Test and the Brief Test of Adult Cognition by Telephone (to determine processing speed). An Informant Questionnaire on Cognitive Decline in the Elderly was administered at two years to provide a final analysis of cognitive function.
The study authors found that the group receiving the supplemental B-vitamins experienced significantly better memory function when compared to the control subjects. The research team determined that stress results in inflammation to neuron structures in the brain and inhibits electrical and chemical transmissions between nerves that are required to form new memories and maintain a healthy degree of cognitive function. The body uses B-vitamins, especially folic acid and vitamin B-12, to fight brain inflammation and ensure proper brain communications.
After the two-year study period, Dr. Walker concluded “Long-term supplementation of daily oral 400 mcg folic acid and 100 mcg vitamin B-12 promotes improvement in cognitive functioning after 24 months, particularly in immediate and delayed memory performance.” The entire family of B-vitamins has been shown to lower the impact of brain stress and inflammation. Health-conscious adults will want to combine a daily supply of B-vitamins with the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA to dramatically lower the risk of memory loss and cognitive decline.
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