Dementia robs families twice
It robs your loved one of the personality that you knew. And too often robs your family of hard-earned savings, because the average care home cost is now a shocking £61,152 a year, as reported by the Sunday Times June 4th 2023.
So, anything you can do to maintain brain health or cut the risk of cognitive decline is vital.
Colin Rose is a Senior Associate Member of the Royal Society of Medicine, and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
He is the Founder and Director of Research and Innovation of Uni-Vite Healthcare and author of a recent book: Delay Ageing: Healthy to 100, where he reveals how to slow ageing and, therefore, help prevent later-life illness.
Brain shrinkage held back by combination supplementation
We have long held that it is the synergy from combining nutrient groups that is the secret of successful supplementation. This is recently and dramatically illustrated in the field of brain health.
Brain shrinkage is a clear marker of Alzheimer’s.
Research at Oxford University, published in Spring 2023, has found that giving older people with the first signs of cognitive impairment supplemental B vitamins – B6, B12 and folic acid – combined with sufficient Omega-3, produced 73% less brain shrinkage in a year, compared to placebo. Link to reference
The supplements were at higher levels than can be achieved through diet – but at similar levels to those in the nutraceutical supplement NutriShield.
“The effect is greater than that of any drug treatment to date, with no adverse effects”, said Professor Smith, who led the study.
In contrast, recent trials of anti-amyloid drugs only show an insignificantly reduced brain shrinkage of 4%.
International confirmation of results
Research groups in the Netherlands, China and Sweden, have confirmed the combined effect of Omega-3 and B vitamins is far greater than either nutrient on its own.
China’s leading dementia prevention expert at Shanghai’s Institute of Neurology has carried out an extensive review of all risk factors for Alzheimer’s and concludes:
“Lowering blood homocysteine levels, an established indicator of Alzheimer’s risk, with B vitamins is a most promising treatment.”
Homocysteine is an amino acid that is present in blood and is produced when proteins are broken down. High levels are a risk factor for both cardiovascular disease and dementia.
Reviewing the results of over 500,000 people, the professor continued:
“Having higher blood levels of Omega-3, and supplementing [with] fish oils, is associated with less risk of dementia. Moreover, recent studies suggest these two factors – homocysteine-lowering B vitamins, and omega-3 – may, in combination, be potentially more beneficial.”
The US National Institutes of Health research provides further confirmation. They attribute 22% of the risk for Alzheimer’s to a lack of B vitamins and raised homocysteine levels and the same 22% to a lack of Omega-3 and seafood intake.
Almost half of all people over 65 have raised homocysteine which increases the risk for dementia by up to 10 times, according to other Chinese research published in 2022. B vitamins and especially folic acid reduce homocysteine levels.
Even a basic multivitamin can help
Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School reported in May 2023 (via the COSMOS-Web study) that a daily multivitamin led to 3.1 years less cognitive ageing than for those assigned a placebo. It was the second cognition trial in COSMOS to suggest that multivitamins can slow memory loss.
The study was co-led by JoAnn Manson who stated:
“It’s unlikely that a single nutrient is a magic bullet. Several micronutrients are known to be important for optimal brain health, and a deficiency of one or more of those essential vitamins and minerals could accelerate cognitive aging.
“Some of the top candidates are vitamin B12, other B vitamins, vitamin D, lutein, zinc, and magnesium”.
Zinc is especially important. Link to reference
All the essential A-Z vitamins and minerals are also in NutriShield at optimum levels – as is another vital nutrient (a quasi B-vitamin) Betaine.
Betaine is an additional reducer of dangerous homocysteine
You’ll have seen that high homocysteine levels are a major risk factor for cognitive decline.
The nutrient betaine – which is in NutriShield Premium, but rarely in other supplements – is proven to lower homocysteine levels. Link to reference
This not only good for cognitive health, but for heart health, too. High homocysteine levels are strongly linked to raised cardiovascular risk. Hence researchers often state that what is good for the heart is good for the brain.
Plant polyphenols add anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits for the brain
Polyphenols are compounds in plants that offer various significant health benefits. Plants create them to combat oxidative damage from excess sun and they confer these anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits to us when we consume them.
Though polyphenols and other plant compounds make up no more than around one-thousandth by weight of fruits and vegetables, they have a powerful health impact.
Curcumin, grapeseed, green tea and bilberry extract are some of the most powerful brain health polyphenols that research has yet discovered.
They are all in NutriShield.
Curcumin from the curry spice turmeric is a top brain health booster
Clinical and laboratory data show that curcumin works on six separate biological pathways to help prevent or potentially even reverse factors that underlie negative age-related brain conditions: Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, stroke and brain cancer/tumours.
Curcumin has been shown, in preclinical and animal studies, to increase the activity of a compound in the brain called Brain-Derived Neurotropic Factor (BDNF).
This is a vital signalling factor that stimulates the growth and strengthening of nerve networks critical for retaining cognitive and memory skills. Link to reference
Alzheimer’s patients often exhibit abnormal insulin signalling.
Curcumin helps to normalise these pathways — a protective action that results in improved cognitive function, spatial learning, and memory. Link to reference
Another feature of Alzheimer’s is the loss of synapses — critical connections between brain cells or neurons.
Studies in mice show that supplementing with curcumin nearly eliminated abnormal synapses, while also improving the number and structure of the synapses. This led to improvements in spatial learning and memory. Link to reference
Loss of synapses themselves is largely triggered by free radical damage (oxidation) and inflammation caused when beta-amyloid plaque builds up in the brain.
Curcumin not only reduces brain inflammation caused by beta-amyloid plaque, but has been shown to reverse its toxic impact on brain cells. Link to reference
Low levels of the neuro-transmitter acetylcholine is characteristic of Alzheimer’s.
Curcumin inhibits the enzyme that lowers acetylcholine, which therefore helps boost levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in synapses – which is how several Alzheimer’s drugs work. Link to reference
Curcumin promotes neural connections and enhances plasticity. This is the ability of the brain to form new connections – and thus respond to changes in environment and knowledge. The ability to make these connections quickly is what underlies learning, memory, and healthy cognition.
Recent research suggests it can even result in the formation of new brain cells – which in turn improve memory and increase cognitive function. Link to reference
Grapeseed helps protect brain tissue
There is good quality research to show that grapeseed extract – a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory polyphenol – has benefits for cardiovascular health by protecting blood vessel linings and helping improve blood flow. It also improves bone density and strength and is liver protective.
A wide range of studies also demonstrates that the antioxidant properties of grapeseed extract help improve cognition and prevent age-related loss of memory. The latest 2022 review confirms that:
“... grape seed extract can be a valuable therapeutic agent” in brain ageing.
Green tea improves mood and brain health
Green tea extract contains a powerful polyphenol called EGCG and another called L. theanine.
A systematic review of 21 quality studies concluded:
“The reviewed studies presented evidence that green tea influences psychopathological symptoms (eg. reduction of anxiety), cognition (eg. benefits in memory and attention) and brain function (eg. activation of working memory seen in functional MRI)."
Bilberry protects the brain's fatty tissue
We originally included bilberry extract in NutriShield because – combined with lutein – it helps preserve vision health.
But it also has a supporting role in a healthy brain supplement.
The brain has a high fat content and thus is vulnerable to free radical damage – or oxidation. [Think how fats can go rancid in the presence of oxygen.]
Studies have found that consumption of bilberries or their extracts, which are powerful antioxidants, may improve short-term memory, balance, and coordination. This is also true of blueberries.
Link to reference 1
We have already stated that what’s good for the brain is good for the heart, and this is confirmed in yet another science paper on bilberries. It concludes that:
“Bilberry is one of the richest natural sources of anthocyanins which give berries their red/purple/blue coloration.
“Anthocyanins are powerful antioxidants and are reported to play an important role in the prevention of metabolic disease and CVD (Cardiovascular Disease) as well as cancer and other conditions”.
Stay Active and Sleep Well to preserve Brain Health
It would be wrong to think that boosting your nutrition is the only way to preserve your mental powers.
Multiple research studies show that physically active people are less likely to suffer a decline in their mental function and have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. Because moderate aerobic exercise increases blood flow to your brain and helps counteract the reduction in brain connections that normally occur during aging.
Sleep also is important for brain health. We now know that during sleep abnormal proteins in your brain are cleared away and memories are consolidated. So that 7-8 hours solid sleep is vital.
Use it or lose it
If you are retired, regular mental challenges are important.
Learning a new skill or hobby, word games, sudoku, volunteering and staying socially active are important elements in a healthy brain programme.
And eat as brain-healthily as you can
Based on over 20 years of research, we have created a food plan that includes the best of the best advice.
In particular, it is based, not just on the Mediterranean and Japanese diets but also on the “Mind Diet” developed by the Chicago-based Rush University. Link to reference Their researchers claim it can reduce Alzheimer’s risk by over 50%.
Here is the food plan that combines all that advice. Healthy Eating Plan | NutriShield
Dementia doesn’t strike overnight. It can take up to 20 years for clear signs to develop, but then, untreated, the progression speeds up. Link to reference
So, the time to be serious about adopting a healthy diet is in your 40s and 50s.
And the time to consider a nutritional supplement that addresses the need to keep your brain healthy is in your 50s, although it is never too late - or too early - to act to improve your brain health.
Thanks for reading
I spend my time researching the new science of healthy, successful ageing. And how to extend health span rather than just lifespan.
And if you enjoyed it, please send the link of this article to any friend or family member who might benefit.
NutriShield Premium Health Supplement
NutriShield Premium was originally designed by Dr Paul Clayton, former Chair of the Forum on Food and Health at the Royal Society of Medicine.
It contains 6 different capsules, combining a total of 43 powerful nutrients to support healthy ageing and has been updated and improved every year since 2002 based on the newest longevity research.
Delay Ageing book explains the ageing process and how you can postpone it
Medical researchers agree that if you slow ageing, you also delay the onset of age-related disease. And we know that it’s not just nutrition. Sleep, reducing stress and cardio and strength exercise are also essential to longevity and ageing well.
My book Delay Ageing: Healthy to 100, published in 2020, explains the latest ageing science in an accessible way.
It’s been rated 5-star and I am sure you will get a lot of benefit from it, as so many have already.
You can register for a free e-newsletter on the latest in nutrition and health research.