DHA and micronutrients may prevent brain shrinkage with age

Vitamins, DHA, and the aging brain

Brain. Flickr: jsmjrIt is known that a Western diet is associated with dementia – the risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease are almost identical to those for cardiovascular disease.1 In contrast, higher vegetable and fruit intake is associated with decreased risk of cognitive decline and dementia.2,3

Vitamins are essential for thousands of chemical reactions in the body, and certain vitamins and other phytochemicals have been singled out for their critically important functions in the brain. These include B vitamins, vitamins C, D, and E, and omega-3 DHA.

B Vitamins

  • Vitamin B1 is needed in order for the brain to utilize glucose for energy
  • Folate is crucial during early brain development and is important for memory
  • Vitamin B12 is important for memory and production of neurotransmitters, and deficiency in B12 can cause nerve injury leading to impaired sensation and even blindness.4 Higher B12 blood levels are associated with slowed cognitive decline.5
  • Vitamin B6 is also involved in neurotransmitter production, and deficiency is associated with seizures, chronic pain, and depression.6

Antioxidant Vitamins C and E

  • The brain is highly susceptible to oxidative stress, which is one of the main mechanisms of brain aging and a contributing factor to neurodegenerative conditions.7,8
  • Nerve endings have highest concentrations of vitamin C found in the human body. Vitamin C is thought to function largely as an antioxidant in the brain and nervous system. Blood levels of vitamin C have been positively associated with IQ.4
  • Vitamin E is a component of brain cell membranes, and along with vitamin A and carotenoids, protects vulnerable unsaturated fatty acids (like omega-3s) from oxidative damage. Low vitamin E status is associated with greater risk of Alzheimer’s disease.4
  • Vitamin C and E intake were associated with higher cognitive scores in the elderly, and the association was stronger for food sources compared to supplement sources.9
  • In addition to vitamin intake, polyphenols and other antioxidants present in plant foods are thought to contribute to protecting the brain from oxidative damage.4

Vitamin D

  • Vitamin D is involved in regulating glucose and calcium transport to and within the brain, and may also protect cognition by reducing inflammation and increasing availability of certain neurotransmitters.4
  • Vitamin D is also involved in memory formation.10 Several studies have associated vitamin D deficiency with increased risk of cognitive impairment or dementia in older adults.11,12

DHA

  • More than half of the brain consists of fat; DHA is the most abundant fat in the brain and a crucial structural component of cell membranes.13
  • DHA supplements have been shown to produce learning and memory improvements in subjects who already were exhibiting mild cognitive impairment, however, a similar study in Alzheimer’s patients showed no benefit.14-16 The message from these studies is that DHA is effective when taken preventively.

Effects of vitamins and DHA on brain shrinkage in the elderly

Compared to older individuals with normal cognition, those with dementia have significantly smaller brain volumes as measured by MRI.17 A recent study analyzed blood fats and micronutrients with regard to MRI measures of brain volume and cognitive function tests in older adults. The researchers found three patterns of nutrient status that correlated to brain volume and cognitive function:

  1. Higher levels of vitamins B, C, D, and E – associated with greater cognitive function scores and brain volume. This pattern primarily reflected fruit and vegetable intake.
  2. Higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids (DHA) – associated with greater cognitive function scores and brain volume. This pattern primarily reflected fish intake.
  3. High levels of trans fats – associated with lower cognitive function scores and brain volume.18,19

Protect your brain

The American diet is insufficient in providing these brain-healthy nutrients, but a nutritarian diet provides both the amount and variety of vitamins and other phytochemicals that support optimal brain function. It is especially important to eat healthfully, supplement with vitamin D, and get adequate DHA as we age, especially after age 50. Keep in mind that fish is not an ideal source of DHA, since mercury is toxic to the brain and reduces the body’s antioxidant status.20-23 An algae-based DHA supplement is a healthful, environmentally friendly source of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. Eating plenty of unrefined plant foods and taking a non-fish source of DHA, such as my DHA Purity starting early in life will allow us to maintain valuable vitamins, omega-3s, and other phytochemicals in brain tissue to keep our minds sharp as we age.

 

References:

1. Fillit H, Nash DT, Rundek T, et al: Cardiovascular risk factors and dementia. Am J Geriatr Pharmacother 2008;6:100-118.
2. Morris MC, Evans DA, Tangney CC, et al: Associations of vegetable and fruit consumption with age-related cognitive change. Neurology 2006;67:1370-1376.
3. Hughes TF, Andel R, Small BJ, et al: Midlife fruit and vegetable consumption and risk of dementia in later life in Swedish twins. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry 2010;18:413-420.
4. Bourre JM: Effects of nutrients (in food) on the structure and function of the nervous system: update on dietary requirements for brain. Part 1: micronutrients. J Nutr Health Aging 2006;10:377-385.
5. Tangney CC, Tang Y, Evans DA, et al: Biochemical indicators of vitamin B12 and folate insufficiency and cognitive decline. Neurology 2009;72:361-367.
6. Malouf R, Grimley Evans J: The effect of vitamin B6 on cognition. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2003:CD004393.
7. Aliev G, Smith MA, Seyidov D, et al: The role of oxidative stress in the pathophysiology of cerebrovascular lesions in Alzheimer's disease. Brain Pathol 2002;12:21-35.
8. Barja G: Free radicals and aging. Trends Neurosci 2004;27:595-600.
9. Wengreen HJ, Munger RG, Corcoran CD, et al: Antioxidant intake and cognitive function of elderly men and women: the Cache County Study. J Nutr Health Aging 2007;11:230-237.
10. McCann JC, Ames BN: Is there convincing biological or behavioral evidence linking vitamin D deficiency to brain dysfunction? The FASEB Journal 2007;22:982-1001.
11. Grant WB: Does vitamin D reduce the risk of dementia? Journal of Alzheimer's disease : JAD 2009;17:151-159.
12. Llewellyn DJ, Lang IA, Langa KM, et al: Vitamin D and Cognitive Impairment in the Elderly U.S. Population. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 2010.
13. Chang CY, Ke DS, Chen JY: Essential fatty acids and human brain. Acta Neurol Taiwan 2009;18:231-241.
14. Yurko-Mauro K, McCarthy D, Rom D, et al: Beneficial effects of docosahexaenoic acid on cognition in age-related cognitive decline. Alzheimers Dement 2010.
15. DHA Improves Memory and Cognitive Function in Older Adults, Study Suggests. 2010. ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101108151346.htm. Accessed December 23, 2010.
16. Quinn JF, Raman R, Thomas RG, et al: Docosahexaenoic acid supplementation and cognitive decline in Alzheimer disease: a randomized trial. JAMA 2010;304:1903-1911.
17. He J, Iosif AM, Lee DY, et al: Brain structure and cerebrovascular risk in cognitively impaired patients: Shanghai Community Brain Health Initiative-pilot phase. Arch Neurol 2010;67:1231-1237.
18. Bowman GL, Silbert LC, Howieson D, et al: Nutrient biomarker patterns, cognitive function, and MRI measures of brain aging. Neurology 2011.
19. Diet Patterns May Keep Brain from Shrinking. 2011. American Academy of Neurology. http://www.aan.com/press/index.cfm?fuseaction=release.view&release=1010. Accessed
20. Huskies lend insight into mercury risk. 2011. EurekAlert! http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-11/iop-hli111711.php. Accessed
21. Oken E, Radesky JS, Wright RO, et al: Maternal fish intake during pregnancy, blood mercury levels, and child cognition at age 3 years in a US cohort. Am J Epidemiol 2008;167:1171-1181.
22. Aschner M, Aschner JL: Mercury neurotoxicity: mechanisms of blood-brain barrier transport. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 1990;14:169-176.
23. Aschner M, Walker SJ: The neuropathogenesis of mercury toxicity. Mol Psychiatry 2002;7 Suppl 2:S40-41.

 

High blood pressure increases dementia risk

The small arteries of the brain are sensitive to elevations in blood pressure, and long-term hypertension carries the risk of injury to these small vessels, impairing blood flow and resulting in damage to or atrophy of brain tissue. As such, high blood pressure is hazardous to the brain, contributing to the development of vascular dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, and cognitive impairment: [1]

  • High diastolic blood pressure at age 50 predicts poorer cognitive function at age 70. [2]
  • Even in younger subjects - 40 and under - higher blood pressure correlates with poorer cognitive performance.[3]
  • An MRI study determined that higher systolic blood pressure is associated with white matter lesions – a type of damage to brain tissue that arises due to poor circulation and poses risk for dementia. [4]
  • According to long-term (20-year) studies, the risk of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia is more than doubled if systolic blood pressure is in or above the range of 140-160 mmHg. [1]

Most cognitive impairment is not age-related, it is lifestyle-related.

Over many years, the Western diet combined with high blood pressure inflicts a great deal of damage on the brain’s delicate small vessels. Keeping your blood pressure in the favorable range is an important step toward maintaining your brain function as you age.

Blood pressure cuff

Dr. Fuhrman’s strategies for healthy blood pressure levels:

 

References:

1. Nagai, M., S. Hoshide, and K. Kario, Hypertension and dementia. Am J Hypertens, 2010. 23(2): p. 116-24.
2. Kilander, L., et al., Hypertension is related to cognitive impairment: a 20-year follow-up of 999 men. Hypertension, 1998. 31(3): p. 780-6.
3. Suhr, J.A., J.C. Stewart, and C.R. France, The relationship between blood pressure and cognitive performance in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III). Psychosom Med, 2004. 66(3): p. 291-7.
4. Kuller, L.H., et al., Relationship of hypertension, blood pressure, and blood pressure control with white matter abnormalities in the Women's Health Initiative Memory Study (WHIMS)-MRI trial. J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich), 2010. 12(3): p. 203-12.
5. Utsugi, M.T., et al., Fruit and vegetable consumption and the risk of hypertension determined by self measurement of blood pressure at home: the Ohasama study. Hypertens Res, 2008. 31(7): p. 1435-43.
6. Sesso, H.D., et al., Alcohol consumption and the risk of hypertension in women and men. Hypertension, 2008. 51(4): p. 1080-7.
7. Sacks, F.M., et al., Effects on blood pressure of reduced dietary sodium and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. DASH-Sodium Collaborative Research Group. N Engl J Med, 2001. 344(1): p. 3-10.
8. Winkelmayer, W.C., et al., Habitual caffeine intake and the risk of hypertension in women. JAMA, 2005. 294(18): p. 2330-5.
9. Bogaert, Y.E. and S. Linas, The role of obesity in the pathogenesis of hypertension. Nat Clin Pract Nephrol, 2009. 5(2): p. 101-11.
10. Pescatello, L.S., Exercise and hypertension: recent advances in exercise prescription. Curr Hypertens Rep, 2005. 7(4): p. 281-6.

 

Vitamin B12 may protect against Alzheimer 's disease

Vitamin B12 is required for important biological functions like red blood cell production, nervous system function, and DNA synthesis. Deficiency in B12 can cause a variety of problems including anemia, depression, confusion, fatigue, digestive issues, and nerve damage. [1]

Vitamins. Flickr: bradley jVitamin B12 is scarce in plant-based diets, and is a common deficiency, especially in the elderly. Of course, diets low in animal products and high in unrefined plant foods dramatically reduce the risk of chronic disease, but these healthful diets do require a supplemental source of vitamin B12. The rates of deficiency increase with age, and about 20% of adults over the age of 60 are either insufficient or deficient in vitamin B12.[2] Recent research has suggested that the current recommendations for B12 intake may be inadequate – not just for the elderly, but even for young people who have adequate absorption capability. Therefore supplementation with vitamin B12 is likely important for most people, and absolutely required for most vegans to achieve sufficient B12 status.[3]

When vitamin B12 takes part in DNA synthesis, it helps to convert the amino acid homocysteine to methionine, therefore lowering homocysteine levels. [1] Elevated homocysteine is a known risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Since B12 is important for nervous system function, and many cardiovascular disease risk factors are also risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease, scientists hypothesized that adequate vitamin B12 levels would be protective, and elevated homocysteine would be detrimental with respect to the development of Alzheimer’s. They investigated the relationship between homocysteine, B12, and Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis in a group of 271 healthy older persons (65-79 years of age) over the course of 7 years. Elevated homocysteine was associated with increased risk, and increased B12 with decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. [4]

Future studies will evaluate the effectiveness of vitamin B12 supplementation as a preventive measure against dementia, but we don’t need to wait for those results – we already know that B12 is an important supplement to take, and Alzheimer’s prevention may turn out to be an added benefit of maintaining adequate B12 levels.

A health-promoting diet is the most effective way to maintain excellent health and protect against chronic diseases, including Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. But in order to enjoy the strongest protection possible, it is just as important to prevent deficiencies of certain nutrients that may be sub-optimal in an overall health-promoting diet, such as vitamin B12, zinc, DHA, and vitamin D, by taking the necessary supplements.

 

References:

1. Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health. Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin B12. November 18, 2010]; Available from: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12/.
2. Allen, L.H., How common is vitamin B-12 deficiency? Am J Clin Nutr, 2009. 89(2): p. 693S-6S.
3. Bor, M.V., et al., Daily intake of 4 to 7 microg dietary vitamin B-12 is associated with steady concentrations of vitamin B-12-related biomarkers in a healthy young population. Am J Clin Nutr, 2010. 91(3): p. 571-7.
4. Hooshmand, B., et al., Homocysteine and holotranscobalamin and the risk of Alzheimer disease: a longitudinal study. Neurology, 2010. 75(16): p. 1408-14.

 

Excess iron and copper contribute to chronic disease and aging

Both iron and copper serve vital functions, but as we age excess stores of these metals may build and become toxic. A report from the American Chemical Society1 suggests that iron and copper toxicity are unrecognized but significant threats to public health, in particular for adults over the age of 50.

pennyIron is crucial for oxygen transport and the proper function of several enzymes and proteins. Similarly, copper is also a component of enzymes that catalyze important reactions in several of the body’s cells and tissues. The human body evolved to store excess iron and copper to fuel these vital processes in case of extreme conditions like bleeding or famine, but their accumulation over time may be detrimental because both metals are involved in the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS).

It is now generally accepted that oxidative damage, a byproduct of oxygen-dependent energy production, contributes to chronic diseases and aging.

Oxidation of LDL cholesterol is one of the initial steps of atherosclerotic plaque development. Epidemiological associations between body stores of each of these metals and atherosclerosis have been found, and this is thought to be due to ROS production.2 

Oxidative damage and depletion of the brain’s natural antioxidant defenses are implicated in the neurodegeneration associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Because the brain uses more oxygen and produces more energy than any other organ, it is the most vulnerable organ to oxidative damage. The high iron content of the brain, even higher in those with excessive iron stores, makes the brain even more vulnerable to oxidative stress.3

In people at least 65 years of age who consumed diets high in saturated and trans fats, copper intake was associated with accelerated cognitive decline. Copper bound to cholesterol is also commonly found in the β-amyloid plaques characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease.4

Excess quantities of these metals primarily come from meat, followed by multivitamin/multimineral supplements. Copper in supplements and drinking water is even more toxic than copper derived from food sources.1   

The author of this new report has outlined steps that we can take to limit our exposure to copper and iron, including:

  • Avoiding or minimizing red meat consumption

  • Avoiding drinking water from copper pipes

  • Choosing a multivitamin that does not contain copper and iron. 

Dr. Fuhrman designed his Gentle Care Formula multivitamin/multimineral to be free of potentially toxic ingredients like copper and iron.

 

References:

1. American Chemical Society (2010, January 22). Consumers over age 50 should consider cutting copper and iron intake, report suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 29, 2010, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2010/01/100120113553.htm 

Brewer GJ. Risks of Copper and Iron Toxicity during Aging in Humans. Chem Res Toxicol. 2009 Dec 7. [Epub ahead of print]

2. Brewer GJ. Iron and Copper Toxicity in Diseases of Aging, Particularly Atherosclerosis and Alzheimer’s Disease. Exp Biol Med 232 (2): 323. 2007

3. Kidd PM. Neurodegeneration from Mitochondrial Insufficiency: Nutrients, Stem Cells, Growth Factors, and Prospects for Brain Rebuilding Using Integrative Management. Alternative Medicine Review 2005;10(4):268-293

4. Morris MC et al. Dietary copper and high saturated and trans fat intakes associated with cognitive decline. Arch Neurol. 2006 Aug;63(8):1085-8.

Packing on the Pounds May Lead to "Severe Brain Degeneration"

This is creepy! A new study in the journal Human Brain Mapping claims obese people have 8% less brain train tissue than normal-weight people. I guess you really do have to be stupid to eat fast food:

Obese people had lost brain tissue in the frontal and temporal lobes, areas of the brain critical for planning and memory, and in the anterior cingulate gyrus (attention and executive functions), hippocampus (long-term memory) and basal ganglia (movement), the researchers said in a statement today. Overweight people showed brain loss in the basal ganglia, the corona radiata, white matter comprised of axons, and the parietal lobe (sensory lobe).

"The brains of obese people looked 16 years older than the brains of those who were lean, and in overweight people looked 8 years older," Paul Thompson, senior author of the study and a UCLA professor of neurology said.

No pun intended, but this is a no-brainer. Dr. Fuhrman insists its America’s poor diet that makes us overweight and sick with chronic disease, same goes for dementia:

The same factors that cause atherosclerosis, leading to heart attacks and strokes, also create dementia, and I am referring to both vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s. This includes the same diets that are high in animal fat and low in vitamins, minerals, fruits, and green vegetables.1 Of course, smoking and lack of physical exercise play a role in these common diseases, but the point is that it does not have to happen to you. These diseases, and others that plague modern America, are not the inevitable consequences of aging. They can actually resolve and improve with age or can be avoided entirely. They are simply the result of years of poor nutrition and an unhealthy lifestyle.

My hope for you is that through this eating-style, you, like my patients who have embraced this program, can rid yourself of migraine headaches, acne, autoimmune diseases, and diabetes. So many of my patients have restored their health after conventional physicians—and the conventional beliefs about the inevitability of disease— told them their problems were going to be life long. Their doctors were wrong.

So to help ensure your diet doesn’t make you demented. Dr. Fuhrman suggests eating plenty of nuts and seeds, like walnuts and pumpkin seeds. They’re packed with brain-building omega-3 fatty acids.

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Risky Fish Fat Builds Brain Power - Try Dr. Fuhrman's DHA Purity Instead

Dr. Fuhrman says our modern diet is very low in omega-3 fatty acids, which raises risk of heart disease, diabetes and dementia. And now, a new study in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition claims omega-3’s from fish may be the key to staving off dementia and mental decline.

If fish does protect the aging brain, researchers believe that the benefits probably come from the omega-3 fatty acids found most abundantly in oily fish like salmon, mackerel and albacore tuna.

Lab studies show that omega-3 fats have a number of properties that could help stave off dementia -- including actions that protect nerve cells, limit inflammation and help prevent the build-up of the amyloid proteins seen in the brains of Alzheimer's patients.

These latest findings are based on surveys of 14,960 adults age 65 or older living in China, India, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Peru or Venezuela.

It’s true. Fish is high in brain-building fat, but Dr. Fuhrman points out most varieties of fish—especially tilefish and mackerel—are heavily polluted with mercury. Dr. Fuhrman’s DHA Purity is a contamination-free omega–3 fatty acid supplement, but if you must have fish, here’s Dr. Fuhrman’s opinion on it.

We are finding out each year that fish is even more polluted than we thought. Even farm raised fish not only contains mercury, but other chemicals, antibiotics and algaecides that are potentially risky for us and the environment. Of course, we have to avoid the high mercury fish such as swordfish, mackerel, pike, shark and even tuna, but the farm-raised fish is not harmless or a health food either.

Though fish is touted as a health food, because of its lower levels of saturated fats and higher omega-3, the reality is that most of the fish available in the market today is farm-raised and does not have significant amounts of omega-3, and neither should it be considered health food. Consuming too much fish has clear risks.  Instead, restrict your fish consumption and assure omega-3 adequacy with either an algae-derived DHA supplement, plus walnuts and ground flax seeds, or take a purified fish oil (certified to be contamination free). I of course would prefer people take the plant-derived DHA (cultivated for this purpose), and not harm our oceans, the wildlife, and pollute the natural habitats trying to feed the world with fish-derived omega-3.

And visit DrFuhrman.com for more on Dr. Fuhrman’s DHA Purity supplement.

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Lower Cholesterol Cuts Risk of Dementia

I’m demented already, so I might not be the best person to talk about this, but new research in the journal Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders claims keeping cholesterol levels in check, i.e. low, reduces your likelihood of Alzheimer's disease.

Between 1994 and 2007, a review of their medical records showed that 469 had Alzheimer's disease and 127 had vascular dementia, the second most common form of dementia after Alzheimer's disease, which is caused by clogged blood vessels and other conditions affecting the blood supply to the brain.

Compared to people with "desirable" cholesterol levels below 200 milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL) in midlife, the risk of Alzheimer's disease three decades later was 57 percent higher in people with high midlife cholesterol levels of 240 mg/dL and above.

"Borderline" high cholesterol (200 to 239 mg/dL) tended to increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease as well, but the results were not statistically significant.

Or, you can just avoid problem altogether. A plant-based diet staves of heart disease and lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. Now, I think eating vegetables is better than going nuts—right?

Via Reuters.

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Millions and Millions of Kids Too Low in Vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency is no joke! A new estimate in the journal Pediatrics reports 7.6 million children, adolescents and young adults have levels of Vitamin D so low that they can be considered deficient. Another 50.8 million people have higher levels, but still too low.

The researchers and others blamed the low levels on a combination of factors, including children spending more time watching television and playing video games instead of going outside, covering up and using sunscreen when they do go outdoors, and drinking more soda and other beverages instead of consuming milk and other foods fortified with Vitamin D.

"This appears to be another result of our unhealthy lifestyles, including a sedentary society that doesn't go out in the sun much," Michal L. Melamed of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York said.

The analysis and an accompanying federal study also found an association between low Vitamin D levels and increased risk for high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and a condition that increases the risk for heart disease and diabetes, known as the metabolic syndrome.

Taken together, the studies provide new evidence that low Vitamin D levels may be putting a generation of children at increased risk for heart disease and diabetes, two of the nation's biggest health problems that are also increased by the childhood obesity epidemic.

In related news, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to difficulty thinking and increases risk of dementia. To help boost vitamin D, Dr. Fuhrman has his own supplement, called Osteo–Sun, in vegan and non-vegan forms.

Via The Washington Post.

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Omega-3s: Healthy Fats You May Not Be Getting Enough Of...

Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy fats that reduce inflammation, inhibit cancer development and protect our blood vessels. There are long-chain and short chain fatty acids. Short-chain omega-3 fats are found in some green vegetables, walnuts, and flax, chia, and hemp seeds. The basic building block of short-chain omega-3 fat is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Our bodies are only capable of converting a small amount of these short chain fats to long-chain omega-3 fats, called docoshexanoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).

Studies show that people have varying ability to convert ALA into DHA and EPA. Apparently, some people eating sufficient ALA from greens, seeds and walnuts can achieve adequate levels while others cannot. Men generally convert less than women. Conversion of ALA by the body to these longer-chain fatty acids is inefficient: < 5-10% for EPA and only 2-5% for DHA.1

DHA is one of the crucial building blocks of human brain tissue. It has been shown to protect against dementia, depression, inflammatory diseases, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), allergies, and to offer significant benefits for overall cardiovascular health.

Early in life, DHA is supplied via the placenta and from breast milk. While adequate DHA is particularly important for pregnant and nursing women and young children, it is beneficial for all ages!

  • Improves your child's intelligence
  • Aids depression and Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Improves memory
  • Important for brain and eye development
  • Promotes smoother skin; prevents wrinkles
  • Helps prevent heart disease and arthritis
  • Lowers risk of Alzheimer's and senior dementia
  • Lowers "bad" cholesterol

These long-chain omega-3 fatty acids are also produced by marine algae which serve as the source of DHA and EPA in fish. Although, fish is a good source of EPA and DHA, unfortunately, it's one of the most polluted foods which we eat. Therefore, it can not be considered a safe source of these healthy fats.

Fish have been shown to contain fat soluble petrochemicals, such as PCB's and dioxins as a result of the dumping of toxic waste and raw sewage into our oceans. Fish also contains mercury. According to the Center for Disease Control, 1 in 12 women of childbearing age in the United States have unsafe mercury levels (and the CDC's threshold for safety is high). Multiple studies have illustrated most of the body's mercury load comes from the consumption of fish.

For these reasons, I recommend consuming little or no fish. If you choose to consume fish, try to stay away from those high in fat and known to be high in mercury such as shark, swordfish, mackerel, pike, tuna, snapper, lobster, grouper, sea bass and bluefish. Instead, use the lower fat (less polluted) fish such as flounder, sole, haddock, scallops, squid, trout, hake, ocean perch, shrimp and tilapia.

Some nutritional advisors encourage consuming high amounts of flax seed oil to promote the conversion of enough DHA. I do not agree. First of all, flax seed oil is an empty calorie food with little or no vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and flavonoids that were present in the original seeds. Furthermore, we have a significant collection of data that indicates that the consumption of high doses of ALA from flax oil may increase, not decrease the risk of prostate cancer.1 In contrast, flax seed consumption has been shown in multiple studies to lower the risk of both breast cancer and prostate cancer.3

I prefer people not consume much fish to assure sufficient consumption or conversion of omega-3s. Since the ability to self-convert short chain ALA into long-chain DHA is so variable from person to person, I recommend a mixture of natural omega-3 containing plants plus some extra plant-derived DHA. I advise people obtain their omega-3 fats by consuming the cleaner, plant sources such as walnuts, flax, chia, and hemp seeds and by also taking a daily DHA supplement like my DHA Purity. My DHA Purity is a laboratory cultivated DHA product made from microalgae. It is a pure form of DHA without environmental contamination or unnecessary disruption of our ocean life. 

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Vegetable Chemical May Stop You from Going Crazy

First off, let me say something. I eat a ton of fruits and vegetables, but I am still nuts! So I don’t know about this study. I have my doubts, my very crazy doubts.

Presented at the British Pharmacological Society’s Summer Meeting, researchers claim flavonoids—powerful antioxidants in fruits and vegetables—may offer health benefits for Alzheimer’s patients.

Experts suggest consuming flavonoids reduce brain pathology, i.e. disease, and improve thinking. One particular flavonoid, called epicatechin, is believed to protect brain cells.

More research needs to be conducted, but scientists say so far findings support the idea that a diet high in flavonoid-rich foods could impact the development and progression of dementia.

The nutrients in fruits and vegetables have a wide array of benefits, including preventing Alzheimer’s. Vitamin D is another good one. Vitamin D, i.e. the sunshine vitamin, has also been shown to lower the risk of dementia.

In related news, flavonoids have been linked to reduced risk of ovarian cancer and flavonoids found in soybeans improve blood flow and protect against cardiovascular disease.

Via ScienceDaily.

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