I’m not selling vitamins, but I sure am taking some: can vitamins prevent dementia?
As Baby Boomers age, we would like slow (halt) the process. I look at my family and realize they are getting older, but somehow I am staying the same. I tend to think so anyway.
Maybe I need more folate, the natural form of vitamin B9, water-soluble, and naturally found in many foods. It is also added to foods and sold as a supplement as folic acid, which is better absorbed than food sources (85% vs. 50%). Folate helps to form DNA and RNA and is involved in protein metabolism. It plays a vital part in breaking down homocysteine, an amino acid that can exert harmful effects in the body if present in high amounts.
Folate is also needed to produce healthy red blood cells. It is critical during periods of rapid growth, such as during pregnancy and fetal development. Therefore, it is essential before and during pregnancy to reduce the risk of congenital disabilities, such as spina bifida. New research suggests that folate may also play a critical part throughout your life, especially when it comes to our brain, reports Detroit News 4’s recent article entitled “Study shows connection between vitamin deficiency and dementia.”
Researchers in the U.S. and Israel studied more than 27,000 people between 60 and 75 years old. They saw that those with a folate deficiency had a 68% higher risk of being diagnosed with dementia. They also had three times the risk of dying from any cause. So maybe vitamins prevent dementia.
It is believed that being deficient in folate may impair cognitive function and nerve signaling in the brain.
However, the researchers say they could not rule out that dementia may have been causing the drop instead of vice versa. However, folate is already known to play a key role in forming red blood cells and helping our cells grow and function properly.
Your doctor can measure your folate levels using a blood test.
Foods naturally rich in folate include the following:
- Leafy green vegetables, such as spinach and broccoli
- Beans and legumes
- Citrus fruits; and
- Cereals fortified with folic acid.
Our bodies cannot store large amounts of folate, so you cannot build up a supply. As a result, we need to regularly eat foods rich in folate or folic acid to maintain those healthy levels. If you are folate deficient, talk to your doctor about healthy ways to boost your levels.
In our firm, we regularly work with people going through the difficulties and challenges of cognitive impairment. If there is a strong chance that vitamins can prevent dementia, I am further inspired to keep taking mine and to focus on eating more greens.
Reference: Detroit News 4 (April 3, 2022) “Study shows connection between vitamin deficiency and dementia”