b12

  1. Low B12 can speed up cognitive decline

    B12 for brain health

    You know that little cartoon light bulb that appears when someone has an idea? It's not powered by electricity.

    It runs on B vitamins, especially vitamin B12. And it;s better to have B12 than low B12.

    The more you get, the brighter that bulb burns, helping to support some of the most critical functions in the brain -- including mood and memory. On the flip side, however, low levels of B can cause the bulb to dim and even burst.

    And by "low" we're not talking major deficiencies. Even moderately low B12 levels can actually turn your own lights out.

    In a new study of 549 seniors who took part in the famous Framingham Heart Study, researchers examined both blood levels of B12 and scores on a test called the Mini-Mental State Examination, or MMSE, that's often used to check for cognitive decline and dementia.

    The seniors were split into five groups based on B12 levels. And over eight years, seniors in the group with the absolute lowest levels had the steepest slide in those scores.

    It was almost as if you could see the bulb going out.

    But they weren't the only ones about to get left in the dark. Turns out the group with the second-lowest levels of B vitamins were right there with them, suffering the same exact average drop in MMSE scores.

    In plain talk, it means you don't have to have critically low B12 for the decline to start -- even moderately low levels could do the trick.

    Since many people are low in B vitamins, consider adding a B complex to your regimen. But when it comes to cognitive health, don't stop there.

    A Mediterranean-style diet low in refined carbohydrates and rich in fresh fruits and vegetables as well as healthy fatty fish can protect your brain and slash your risk of cognitive decline and dementia.

    And if you're already suffering from cognitive decline, it's not too late: Studies have shown this healthy lifestyle can even help prevent the condition from turning into full-blown dementia.

  2. Easy and inexpensive ways to boost your brainpower

    Want to be smart? Follow your mother's advice and don't forget to take your vitamins -- because even the basics can deliver noticeable and almost immediate benefits.

    No part of the body responds quicker to good nutrition than the brain, and a series of new studies show how quality supplements can give you the boost you've been looking for in a matter of weeks -- helping you to think sharper, quicker, and better than ever.

    Start with the second letter of the alphabet -- B vitamins.

    In one of the studies, men given a high-dose B complex for 33 days improved on tests measuring mood, stress, and cognitive performance, and reported being less "mentally tired" after taking those tests.

    The study was on men, but I have no doubt the benefits would apply to women as well because B vitamins such as B6, B12, and folate have proven time and again to help protect the brain.

    But they're also water soluble, which means your body doesn't store them. They literally go right through you -- in your mouth and out your urine, which is why it's not enough to get them only some of the time.

    You need to make sure you get them every single day.

    Along with those B vitamins, be sure to take a quality multi -- because another recent study found that women who took them for nine weeks had a boost in multitasking abilities.

    More specifically, they had improved accuracy and faster responses while multitasking… and, as a bonus, they had lower levels of the inflammation marker homocysteine.

    Again, there's no reason these benefits wouldn't apply to men and women alike. Just make sure your multivitamin comes from a maker you trust, and not the local dollar store.

    And while you're at it, be sure to take some fish oil. The omega-3 fatty acids are great for the brain, especially DHA. In one recent study, adults who took between 1 and 2 grams of DHA a day saw improvements in blood flow in the brain while engaged in cognitive tasks.

    Of course, none of these supplements are miracle pills. They're not going to magically undo the damage of an unhealthy lifestyle, but they're an important part of the big picture -- both in the short term and over the long haul.

    Your own needs will depend on your diet, lifestyle, and even genetic factors that might make it more difficult for you to hold onto certain nutrients. A holistic doctor can run some tests to help you figure you which ones you need, how much you need, and the best way to get them.

  3. Feed your brain some fat

    There are plenty of places on the body where you definitely don't want fat building up. But there's one place you want as fat as can be, and that's right inside your skull.
  4. B vitamins beat dementia

    I know plenty of seniors who would pop pretty much any pill -- risks and costs be damned -- if it meant they'd never have to battle Alzheimer's disease.
  5. The incredible shrinking brain

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    Now, a new study finds that the loss of brain mass found in Alzheimer's patients might actually be detectable up to a decade before the telltale signs of the disease appear.
  6. B12 for dementia prevention

    It's the ordinary B vitamins--particularly B12, the wonder nutrient that can help save both hearts and minds.

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