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.