Van's Health Foods

In Historic Downtown Livermore since 1972

Vitamin D reduces cognitive decline

Doctors in this study measured vitamin D levels and cognitive performance in 6,257 older woman still living independently in their communities. Women with the lowest levels of vitamin D–10 to 25 nanograms per milliliter of blood (ng/mL)–were much more likely to be cognitively impaired than women with 30 to 74 ng/mL of vitamin D.

Four years later, doctors found that women with less than 20 ng/mL of vitamin D were much more likely to have experienced cognitive decline compare to the start of the study, while women with higher vitamin D levels were much more likely to have maintained cognitive function.

Low vitamin D levels linked to Alzheimer’s disease

In this study, doctors measured vitamin D in the diets of 498 women who were not taking vitamin D supplements and who did not have¬†Alzheimer’s disease (AD) or other dementias at the start of the study. After seven years of follow-up, researchers divided the women into three groups; those who had developed AD, those who had developed other dementias, and those who had not developed dementia.

Doctors found a direct link: as levels of vitamin D increased, chances of developing AD decreased. Women who got the most vitamin D–the top 20 percent–were 77 percent less likely to develop AD compare to all other women who got lower amounts of vitamin D.

Reference: The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences; 2012, Vol. 67, No. 10, 1092-8

From the March 2012 newsletter

Van's Health on April - 22 - 2013
categories: Vitamins

Vitamins and omega-3s linked to better brains

Nutrients combine to make unique “signature patterns” or profiles in the blood, and researchers in this study tested which profiles were linked to better cognitive health. Doctors measured nutrients in 104 adults without dementia, aged 77 to 97, and found that, compared to those with lower levels, those with the highest blood levels of folate, vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, C, D, and E, and omega-3 fatty acids, scored highest on mental tests and had healthier MRI brain scans.

The brain can shrink with age, rising chances for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Those in the study with the highest levels of trans-fats–partially hydrogenated oils common in highly processed and deep fried foods–scored lowest on mental tests and had signs of brain shrinkage. Doctors said we already knew trans-fats raise bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol levels and are bad for the heart, but this is the first study to link trans-fats and brain health. “It is very exciting to think that people could potentially stop their brains from shrinking and keep them sharp by adjusting their diet,” researchers concluded.

Leucine helps maintain muscle mass

The body needs proteins to maintain muscle mass, and its ability to make and use proteins declines with age. In this study, eight people, everage age 68, took 4 grams of the branched-chain amino acid leucine with each of three meals per day. Researchers compared muscle biopsies and blood samples before the study and after 14 days and found significantly higher rates of protein formation and increased signs of cellular muscle-building activity. Doctors said the low dose of leucine may make it easier to maintain muscle mass with age.

Reference: Neurology; 2012, Vol. 78, No. 4, 241-9

From the July 2012 newsletter

Van's Health on September - 7 - 2012
categories: Supplements, Vitamins

Antioxidants improve memory

In this long-term study, 4,447 healthy French men and women, aged 45 to 60, took a daily combination of antioxidants, or a placebo, for nine years. The antioxidant supplement contained 120 mg vitamin C, 6 mg beta-carotene equal to 10,000 IU pro-vitamin A, 45 IU vitamin E, 100 mcg selenium, and 20 mg zinc. Five years later, researchers measured cognitive performance in six memory and decision-making tasks.

Overall compared to placebo, the antioxidant group had better cognitive function, including 39 percent better long-term memory. In a subgroup of non-smokers, those who took antioxidants had 33 percent better word recall than placebo, and among those who began the study with low levels of vitamin C, word-recall improved seven-fold.

Omega-3 preserves cognitive function

Researchers said this is the first study to report lower chances of cognitive decline in those who took omega-3 supplements. At the start of the study, doctors measured the diets and cognitive performance in 1,475 adults without dementia, aged at least 55. Doctors tested again 1.5 years later and found those who took omega-3 fish oil supplements were 63 percent less likely to show signs of cognitive decline.

Summarizing their findings, study authors said the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA may lower chances of cardiovascular disease, improve cerebral blood flow, decrease inflammation, and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, all of which may help reduce the rate of cognitive decline.

Reference: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition; 2011, Vol. 94, No. 3, 892-9

From the December 2011 newsletter

Van's Health on January - 13 - 2012
categories: Supplements, Vitamins
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