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Folic Acid Might Prevent Alzheimer's Disease

Folic Acid Might Prevent Alzheimer

Friday, March 9th 2007

Folic acid - a B vitamin found in leafy greens, fortified grains, and multivitamins - has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, depression, and some cancers, but can it also protect against Alzheimer's disease? A new study suggests it can.

Alzheimer's disease is a common form of dementia that affects mostly elderly people, causing a significant decline in mental functioning and lapses in memory, especially short-term memory.

The new study from Columbia University, published in the Archives of Neurology, interviewed 965 seniors about their health, lifestyle, and diet, and tested them on physical and neurological function. Participants were then monitored for signs of dementia for several years. After an average of six years, the people with the highest total intake of folic acid had the lowest incidence of Alzheimer's disease, and those with the lowest intake had the highest incidence.

The effects of Alzheimer's disease on afflicted people and their families can be devastating. Most people with Alzheimer's disease eventually require round-the-clock care. Although genetic factors play a major role in causing the disease, there is some evidence that there are other, more controllable, influences. In addition to getting plenty of folic acid, exercise has been shown to protect against Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia; smoking, on the other hand, can increase risk.

Based on the study's findings and those from previous research, people who want to minimise their Alzheimer's disease risk would be wise to consider taking a multivitamin containing folic acid and to eat more folic acid - rich foods, such as spinach, kale, broccoli, dark green lettuce, beans, wheat germ, and fortified cereal grains.
"Because there is no known cure for Alzheimer's disease, all methods for prevention are important to study, and positive findings such as these should be shared with people who are concerned about this disease," commented Dr. Bernat, a neurologist at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Centre. "Methods such as quitting smoking, exercising, and increasing folic acid intake are inexpensive and safe, and have other benefits for healthy aging," he added.

(Arch Neurol 2007;64:86-92)

Source: Lifeline Newsletter March 2007

Footnote from Ideal Health:

The following products are all useful Antioxidants:

Advanced Antioxidant
AlphaProtect
AstaSupreme
AstaZan
Enzogenol 120mg
Enzogenol with ACE and Selenium
L-Glutathione
Pez-Rez
Pycnogenol
Resveratrol 250mg
Resveratrol Age Defence
Selenium
Super Carotene
Vitamin C with Hesperidin Complex
Vitamin E 500 IU
Zinc

Related health information can be found here:

Alzheimer's
Glutathione - the master antioxidant involved in disease prevention
Memory
Nerves
Parkinsons
Pycnogenol - a powerful antioxidant from pine tree extract
Smart nutrients for better brain function
Stress
Stroke
Vitis, a powerful antioxidant derived from grape seeds

Related articles can be found here:

Doctors recommend a multi-vitamin a day
How to boost your brain power
Is it really "all in your food"?
Minerals: Critical for well-being
NADH: Energy incarnate
New Zealanders need zinc

If you need help or advice, you are welcome to email our naturopathic team with your health question.

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered. The information is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide medical advice to you. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.

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