Barbara L. Minton from Natural News reviewed some recent studies that prove folate and vitamin B-12 are essential for brain health and cognitive function. Researchers are finding that deficiencies in folate and B-12 are causing Alzheimer’s disease, cognitive decline, and strokes. Here are some of the key findings mentioned in the article:
- - A January 2008 study in Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids found that low blood folate and high homocysteine (a toxic amino acid) levels are related to poor brain function. The study concluded that folic acid increases the level of essential fatty acids DHA and EPA in your blood, contributing to healthy brain function.
- - A November 2007 study in Stroke found that low blood levels of B-12 and folate increase your risk of cerebral ischemia (stroke caused by “inadequate supply of blood and oxygen to the brain as a result of blockage of an artery”).
- - A June 2007 study in the Journal of American College of Nutrition concluded that low levels of folate and high levels of homocysteine are common in elderly post-stroke patients.
Some of the best natural food sources of folate and B-12 are:
- - Folate: leafy green vegetables, fruit juice, beans, bran, barley, beef, brewer’s yeast, brown rice, cheese, dates, lamb, chicken, salmon, tuna, pork, liver, wheat germ, whole grains, and whole wheat.
- - Vitamin B-12: animal products (try snapper, venison, shrimp, scallops, salmon, and beef).
Note: Natural News says that “individuals over the age of 50 should obtain their B-12 from supplements because of the increased likelihood of food-bound B-12 malabsorption.”
If you have some spare time, watch this fascinating video, “Jill Bolte Taylor: My stroke of insight,” on TED.
Video summary from TED.com:
“Neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor had an opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: One morning, she realized she was having a massive stroke. As it happened — as she felt her brain functions slip away one by one, speech, movement, understanding — she studied and remembered every moment. This is a powerful story about how our brains define us and connect us to the world and to one another.”