B vitamins stop pre-Alzheimer’s brain shrinkage

B vitamin complex halts brain shrinkage that precedes Alzheimer’s

B vitamins stop pre-Alzheimer's brain shrinkage NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

If you or any family member is at risk of Alzheimer’s, a new study by Oxford, Warwick and Oslo universities brings hope.

Alzheimer’s and dementia are possibly the most feared ‘age-related’ diseases today. They rob sufferers of memories and so much that makes a normal life enjoyable. Worryingly, dementia is now the leading cause of death for women in England and Wales.

Unfortunately, good news on Alzheimer’s from conventional medical sources is hard to come by – because most drug research has hit a brick wall. There is no conventional cure.

But this recent study shows that an inexpensive nutrient combination may help where costly drugs have failed.

Warning signs of Alzheimer’s

One of the warning signs of Alzheimer’s is a shrinkage in brain ‘grey matter’ which can begin as much as 10 years before the characteristic sticky amyloid plaques and tangles begin to show up on MRI scans. ‘Grey matter’ is a complex of brain nerve cells in areas of the brain responsible for memory and reasoning. In people with Alzheimer’s, areas of grey matter shrink and shrivel.

B vitamins stop pre-Alzheimer's brain shrinkage NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

B vitamins reduce homocysteine risk factor

The university researchers already knew that vitamins B12, B6 and folic acid reduce blood levels of an amino acid called homocysteine. A 2002 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine had confirmed that people with high blood levels of homocysteine had a significantly greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease.

Indeed, a high level of homocysteine is a predictor not just of Alzheimer’s, but of heart disease and stroke. It’s an all-round disease risk factor.

Clinical trial of B vitamins

The researchers conducted a randomised controlled trial on two groups of patients who had already been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment – the type that frequently leads to the much more devastating Alzheimer’s.

One group received 0.5mg of Vitamin B12 a day, 20mg of B6 and 800mcg of Folic Acid; the second group received a placebo.

A huge positive effect on the brain

Patients had a brain scan at the start of the trial and again after two years.

In the group receiving the B complex, and who had above average homocysteine levels, the reduction in brain shrinkage was almost 85%!

Lead researcher David Smith stated:

“It’s a big effect – much bigger than we would have dreamed of … It’s the first and only disease-modifying treatment that’s worked.”

Paul Thompson, professor of Neurology at UCLA School of Medicine, commented:

“I have never seen results from brain scans showing this level of protection.”

Reducing homocysteine decreased the rate of grey matter loss

The sequence observed in the trial was that reducing homocysteine levels led to a big decrease in the rate of grey matter loss and a corresponding limit on cognitive decline.

But when quizzed, the researchers could not say that B complex supplementation prevented Alzheimer’s – only that it reduced the shrinkage of grey matter that usually precedes Alzheimer’s and dementia.

More evidence from the 100,000-person “Whitehall” cohort study

But other evidence allows us to make a more definite conclusion. The Whitehall 11 Cohort Study on over 100,000 people with an average age of around 55 clearly shows that those at the most risk of heart disease and stroke are also at the most risk of dementia.

Because elevated homocysteine levels are not only damaging to brain health – they are damaging to vascular health, and are linked to blood clots, stroke and heart attacks.

Indeed we know that some 50% of people who have a heart attack have normal cholesterol levels – but many of them have high homocysteine levels.

Three killer diseases – Alzheimer’s, heart attacks and strokes – have three recognised common denominators:

  1. Elevated homocysteine levels
  2. Chronic inflammation
  3. Reduced blood flow because of constricted blood vessels

So an overall strategy to reduce the risk of dementia would address these three – interlinked – threats.

More non-drug ways to reduce homocysteine and cut disease risk

Although homocysteine levels in the blood often increase simply with age, they also increase with the use of alcohol, the anxiety medication benzodiazepines, obesity, inactivity and a genetic mutation called MTHFRC677T.

So increasing your activity levels every day and keeping to a healthy weight are other proven ways to reduce the risk of dementia.

B vitamins stop pre-Alzheimer's brain shrinkage NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

Reducing inflammation

There is a huge body of research to show that internal inflammation that builds up in tissues – including brain tissues – is a or possibly even the, driver, not just of dementia, but heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some cancers. And ageing itself.

Dr Brian Giunta, a neuroscientist at the University of Southern Florida, explains that cells in the brain called microglia can become constantly inflamed – and less able to clear beta amyloid proteins from the brain. This beta amyloid then kills neurons – leading to Alzheimer’s.

The main way to reduce inflammation is to increase your intake of plant-based foods and oily fish.

B vitamins stop pre-Alzheimer's brain shrinkage NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

Exciting easy recipes to help you eat more anti-inflammatory foods online here

In terms of supplements, the following all help damp down inflammation:  Omega 3 and plant micro-nutrients like curcumin, green tea extract, grapeseed extract, soy isoflavones, lutein and lycopene.

There is a full report on reducing inflammation called Inflamm-Ageing at

Increasing blood flow

What’s bad for the heart is bad for the brain. Restricted blood flow to the heart is, of course, a main cause of heart disease – and it is also a major factor in both vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s.

In vascular dementia, the brain doesn’t receive enough blood, and therefore enough oxygen, which results in nerve cell death. Blood flow to the brain is also reduced in patients with Alzheimer’s Disease and this may be another reason that neurons die in this form of dementia, too.

Some clinicians have even termed vascular dementia as ‘atherosclerosis of the brain’. So the same strategies for increasing blood flow and reducing blood pressure apply to preventing vascular dementia as well as heart disease and stroke.

A comprehensive anti-Alzheimer’s health regime

Strategies include increased physical activity, increased fruit and vegetable intake and an anti-oxidant-rich supplement that includes Omega 3, curcumin, co-enzyme Q10, and the plant micro-nutrients lutein, lycopene, green tea and grapeseed flavonoids and soy isoflavones.

All these anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant nutrients – plus high levels of B complex – are in the health supplement called NutriShield, designed by Dr Paul Clayton, former Chair of the Forum on Food and Health at the Royal Society of Medicine. Its objective is to reduce inflammation, reduce homocysteine levels, increase normal blood flow and provide the building blocks for health cell renewal and DNA repair.

As Hilary Evans of Alzheimer’s Research UK says:

“Dementia is not an inevitable part of ageing; it’s caused by diseases that can be fought through research, and we must bring all our efforts to bear on what is now our greatest medical challenge.”


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B vitamins stop pre-Alzheimer's brain shrinkage NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals And register now for a free regular e-newsletter on the latest in nutrition and health research.

Dr Paul Clayton designed NutriShield as a comprehensive healthB vitamins stop pre-Alzheimer's brain shrinkage NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals supplement with OPTIMUM levels of essential nutrients including polyphenols and flavonoids from fruits, vegetables and other plants. See more detail elsewhere on this site or click on the button.

B vitamins stop pre-Alzheimer's brain shrinkage NutriShield Multi Vitamins and MineralsDr Paul Clayton’s best-selling book Health Defence is available from bookstores or from Uni-Vite Healthcare here.

A free summary report and the opportunity to read the book online is available here.

See online here for delicious recipes from the Health Defence Cookbook  incorporating healthy foods featuring in a Mediterranean Diet. B vitamins stop pre-Alzheimer's brain shrinkage NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals


Preventing Alzheimer’s disease-related grey matter atrophy by B-vitamin treatment. Douaud G, Refsum H, de Jager CA, Jacoby R, Nichols TE, Smith SM, Smith AD. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2013 Jun 4;110(23):9523-8. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1301816110.

Physical activity and cognitive function in individuals over 60 years of age: a systematic review; Ashley Carvalho. Clin Interv Aging. 2014; 9: 661–682. Published online 2014 Apr 12. doi:  10.2147/CIA.S55520

Reduce senior moments

Reduce senior moments NutriShield Multi Vitamins and MineralsHave you ever forgotten a place name or even your PIN number? Walked upstairs for something – but then forgotten what you went for?

We call these temporary memory lapses ‘senior moments’, and they do become more common with age. But what’s happening? Should you be worried? Can you reverse the process?

Researchers at Columbia University in New York have some positive news. This type of memory problem is reversible in mice and probably reversible in humans.

It is mostly caused by a reduction in the level of a protein in the brain that commonly occurs as we get older. When this protein is increased, the risk of this type of memory loss is reduced or possibly even eliminated.

Protein RbAp48 is key

Called RbAp48, this key protein is found in your brain’s hippocampus. Your hippocampus is part of an area of the brain called the limbic system – a region that regulates emotion and is involved in memory.

“It’s been known for a long time that our memory declines just by the normal wear and tear of the aging process,” says Dr Scott Small, co-author of the study and director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Columbia University NY.

“Our study provides compelling evidence that age-related memory loss is a syndrome in its own right, apart from Alzheimer’s.”

Not necessarily a sign of future dementia

So senior moments are not necessarily a sign of future dementia – the two have different causes. Alzheimer’s is linked to the build-up of amyloid plaques in the brain’s neurons, and to inflammation in the brain’s fatty tissues, whereas memory loss due to natural ageing is linked to the RbAp48 protein.

The Columbia study initially looked at eight post-mortem brains from humans with no history of a brain disease, ranging from ages 33 to 88. They found that as a person’s age increased, levels of the protein RbAp48 (also called RBBp4) slowly decreased.

Researchers then found that when they decreased the protein in young rodents they experienced the same type of memory loss that older mice suffered.

The good news was that their memory was restored, once levels of RbAp48 were brought back to normal. Better still, when researchers increased RbAp48 in the brains of old mice, their memory improved within days.

“The fact that we were able to reverse age-related memory loss in mice is very encouraging,” says lead researcher and Nobel Laureate Eric Kandel. “At the very least it shows that this protein is a major factor. Unlike with Alzheimer’s, there is no significant loss of neurons.”

How can you increase RbAp48?

Almost inevitably Big Pharma is off and running looking for drugs. But there may be natural ways to enhance the RbAp48 protein in particular, and brain function in general. Here are our recommendations:

1. Ensure adequate protein intake

Studies show that as a person ages, their absorption of protein declines. So it may be beneficial to increase your overall intake of protein, as you can’t selectively just increase the RbAp48 protein outside the laboratory.

Reduce senior moments NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

Moroccan Chicken Tagine from the Health Defence Cookbook

In a 2014 study of elderly Japanese residents over a period of 7 years, men who consumed higher levels of animal protein in their diets were 39 percent less likely to have mental and physical decline as they aged. The results were less pronounced for women.

This was supported by a 2012 study which found that amongst people aged 70 to 89, individuals with the highest protein intake had a reduced risk of cognitive decline of 21 percent.

Increased protein intake may have other benefits. A 2014 study published in Cell Metabolism examined the diets of nearly 7,000 individuals between 50 and 90 years of age. The group over the age of 60 had a 62% lower risk of developing cancer and a 28 percent lower risk of death when they ate a diet high in protein.

However, since younger individuals make more proteins, increased food intake of protein could lead to excess protein in the body – and there are indications that people under the age of 60 should keep their protein consumption below 20% of calorie intake.

How much protein? According to a 2006 study conducted by the McGill Nutrition and Food Science Centre in Canada, elderly persons should consume about 0.45 to 0.6 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. This is about 90 grams for a 150 pound (68 kg/10st 10lb) adult.

Reduce senior moments NutriShield Multi Vitamins and MineralsA younger person should aim for about 0.45 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight – about 68 grams of protein for a 150 pound (68 kg/10st 10lb) person.

An 8-ounce steak contains about 60 grams of protein, a 3 ounce chicken breast 24g of protein and 3 oz of salmon or sardines a similar amount. An egg contains about 6 grams.

Reduce senior moments NutriShield Multi Vitamins and MineralsEggs have another brain benefit. They (along with liver and soybeans) contain choline which is a precursor to the production of acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is an important neurotransmitter and key molecule for brain health. Acetyl L-Carnitine is an amino-acid that can beneficially effect the production of acetylcholine.

2. Can we turn on the genes that produce RbAp48?

We are now finding that certain nutrients can turn genes on (and off). It’s called gene expression.

One candidate for possibly turning on the production of the RbAp48 protein is epicatechin – found in green tea, black grapes, blackberries, cherries – and dark cocoa powder.

3. Reduce sugar intake

A 2013 study published in Neurology found that high blood sugar levels have a negative effect on cognitive health. High levels of blood sugar in the brain shut down normal insulin response, which can lead to impairments in memory and cognition, as well as the development of type 2 diabetes.

Carbohydrates are metabolised as sugar inside the body, so a high carb diet can be detrimental to brain health.

4. Eat more healthy fats

Reduce senior moments NutriShield Multi Vitamins and MineralsHealthy fats – and especially Omega 3 fish oil – provide essential nutrients that protect the brain and memory. Healthy fat sources include virgin olive oil, nuts and avocados. High intake of Omega 3 is linked to lower levels of depression.

These fats need to be combined with anti-oxidants as the brain is a fatty organ and prone to free radical damage unless it is protected with anti-oxidants.

Reduce senior moments NutriShield Multi Vitamins and MineralsVery recent research indicates that combining Omega 3 fish oil with marine polyphenols is ideal. Marine polyphenols (polyphenols are health protective compounds found in fruits and vegetables) – are found in seaweed and act as both anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory agents.

5. Increase dietary fibre

When ‘friendly bacteria’ ferment dietary fibre in your gut and combine with salt, it produces a fatty acid called sodium butyrate. This is a potent detoxifier of neurotoxins and is thus brain healthy.

6. Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins B12, B6 and betaine – along with folic acid – are known to reduce the level of an amino acid called homocysteine. Raised levels of this amino acid have been associated with reductions in cognitive function and memory loss – and also heart attacks.

Reduce senior moments NutriShield Multi Vitamins and MineralsZinc deficiency is also known to lead to cognitive impairment, and seafood and whole grains are a good source of zinc.

Recent research also links higher levels of vitamin D to improved mental health. A study at Exeter University found that severe vitamin D deficiency correlated with a 100% increase in Alzheimer’s risk [meaning that risk was doubled].

The mechanisms are not yet clear, but since vitamin D is a key nutrient for the immune system, some of the beneficial effects on the brain may come from its role in enhancing the immune system and in reducing inflammation – which is a known element in Alzheimer’s and dementia.

7. Exercise

Numerous studies show that continuing to be active is essential for brain health. That’s also true of getting at least 8 hours of sleep

8. Keep the blood flowing

The risk factors for heart disease, stroke and brain deterioration are surprisingly similar. They include obesity and high blood pressure and atheroma – the accumulation of fatty deposits and scar tissue, which lead to restriction of the circulation.

Reduce senior moments NutriShield Multi Vitamins and MineralsUnderlying these health threats is a common problem – called ‘chronic, sub-clinical inflammation’ that increases over the years. Indeed New Scientist recently confirmed that this type of internal unseen and unfelt (and therefore especially dangerous)  inflammation is involved in:

“… muscle wasting and glaucoma, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, osteoporosis and arthritis, heart failure and high blood pressure, cancers, and lung, liver and kidney and skin disorders.”

9. Supplements can help

From the above it appears as though a comprehensive supplement containing not just a full range of vitamins and minerals, but betaine, Omega 3, green tea extract, grapeseed extract and polyphenols should help keep those ‘senior moments’ at bay.


If you enjoyed this article, please share it with family and friends (see buttons below).

Reduce senior moments NutriShield Multi Vitamins and MineralsAnd register now for a free e-newsletter on the latest in nutrition and health research.

You can follow us on or for daily headline health tweets.

Dr Paul Clayton designed NutriShield as a comprehensive healthReduce senior moments NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals supplement with OPTIMUM levels of essential nutrients. See more detail elsewhere on this site or click on the button.

Reduce senior moments NutriShield Multi Vitamins and MineralsDr Paul Clayton’s best-selling book Health Defence is available from most good bookstores. See the website for excerpts and links to buy direct from the publisher.

See online here for delicious recipes from the Health Defence Cookbook  incorporating healthy foods featuring in a Mediterranean Diet. Reduce senior moments NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals


Pavlopoulos E, Jones S, Kosmidis S, Close M, Kim C, Kovalerchik O, Small SA, Kandel ER. 2013. “Molecular Mechanism for Age-Related Memory Loss: The Histone-Binding Protein RbAp48”. Science Translational Medicine. 5 (200)

Zhang Q, Vo N, Goodman RH. 2000. “Histone Binding Protein RbAp48 Interacts with a Complex of CREB Binding Protein and Phosphorylated CREB”. Molecular and Cellular Biology. 20 (14): 4970–8.

Lu et al. “REST and stress resistance in ageing and Alzheimer’s disease.” Nature, doi:10.1038/nature13163, 2014.

Andrade C, Radhakrishnan R. “The prevention and treatment of cognitive decline and dementia: An overview of recent research on experimental treatments.” Indian J Psychiatry. 2009 Jan;51(1):12-25. doi: 10.4103/0019-5545.44900.