Silent Epidemic: Brain Shrinkage

A fascinating study has just been published in the September 2008 edition of the prestigious journal Neurology. This study convincingly showed how “Brain Shrinkage” or “Brain Atrophy” is now at epidemic proportions in the Western world.

Could this be why we have so much Alzheimer’s, Autism and Attention Deficit? There is an answer, a profound one that everyone with a brain needs to utilize.

Brain Shrinkage Study

This “Brain Shrinkage Study”, conducted by Dr.Anna Vogiatzoglou, from the University of Oxford,  recruited 107 well-functioning adults with normal cognition between the ages of 61 to 87. At the beginning of the study, the volunteers all underwent MR scanning of the brain, memory testing and blood testing to measure their vitamin B12 levels.Vitamin B-12

Five years later, they underwent repeat MR scanning of the brain. It was found that those individuals who had lower levels of vitamin B12 in their blood showed a greater rate of brain shrinkage, otherwise known as brain atrophy, over the five-year period. What I find so interesting is that apparently no one in this group had actual B12 deficiency, but rather just low to normal B12 levels.

Dr. Vogiatzoglou commented, “The findings do not prove that lower B12 levels in older adults cause brain shrinkage. But they do indicate that lower levels of the vitamin are a marker or sign of brain atrophy – or possibly a modifiable risk factor for cognitive decline.”

As it turns out, those with the lowest Vitamin B12 levels at the outset of the study were six times more likely to develop brain shrinkage compared to those with more normal B12 levels. 

Six Times More!

Of course, the concern is that with brain shrinkage comes cognitive decline. The lead researcher commented,

Our results suggest that rather than maintaining one’s B12 at a level that is just above the cut off for deficiency, it might be prudent to aim to keep it higher up than normal range.

“B is for Brain”

There was an interesting study published in the September 2008 edition of the Journal Clinical Chemistry. In this study which came out of Norway, over 10,000 healthy middle aged men and women were evaluated. It was found that compared to individuals who did not drink coffee, those who drank four or more cups a day had a statistically significant reduction in multiple B vitamins, up to about a 15% reduction.

Additionally, those individuals who drank more coffee had an increase elevation of homocysteine which also causes brain atrophy and Alzheimer’s. The researchers hypothesized that coffee consumption may increase the loss of surplus B vitamins by excretion in the urine. This would make sense as B vitamins are water soluble.

In the September 2008 edition of the International Journal of Cardiology, a meta-analysis was done reviewing randomized trials of Omega-3 fish oil in individuals with unhealthy blood fat levels. In the final analysis, a total of 47 studies were included. It was found that individuals who took Omega-3 fish oil, approximately 3,250 mg a day of EPA and/or DHA, produced a statistically significant reduction in triglycerides, although no change in total cholesterol.

One thing to keep in mind is if your good cholesterol (HDL) goes up and your bad cholesterol (LDL) goes down, your total may not change but the ratio towards the good versus bad will improve, and this is far more important for cardiovascular health compared to what the total level is. The ideal ratio is around 3, and for every point increase in the ratio, your risk of poor cardiovascular health may double and compound.

Vitamin D-3

In the October 2008 edition of the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, researchers investigated the relationship between reduced serum vitamin D levels and poor mental function. Serum vitamin D levels were measured in 53 in patients suffering with poor mental function. These levels were compared to a group of controls without any poor mental function. It was found that lower levels of vitamin D were present in the patients with poor mental function.

The researchers suggested that routine monitoring of vitamin D levels in these patients may be of benefit given the high yield of clinically relevant findings. 

Vitamin D never ceases to amaze me. It has benefits for promoting healthy cell function, cardiovascular health, bones, balance and even mental health. I recommend 2,000 – 4,000 IU per day of the D3 form of vitamin D-3.

Further Tips and Suggestions:

  • For added benefit, use our Omega 3/6/9 Fatty Acids Formula. The brain is 75% fatty acids, the more Omegas’ you give it, and the younger it will stay.
  • Make sure your Vitamin D-3 dosages are up at the highest level.  Read my article on this equally miraculous vitamin.
  • Our amazing Mind Power Formula, an “Einstein Pill” that is incredible for all brain health and longevity.
  • Our Vitamin B-12 formula, a true “Super-Vitamin” with amazing natural abilities to “wake up” the mind.
  • Eat brain healthy foods like fish, broccoli, nuts, and seeds and stop eating any brain death food like milk, cheese, ice cream, butter and red meat or pork and deli meats on subway sandwiches.
  • Switch to organic tofu, tempeh and lots of salads and raw vegetables instead.
  • Have my brain healthy Miracle Potassium Broth every two days. It alone will work wonders.

As always, here’s to your contagious Health!

Dr. G

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