alzheimers & folic acid...

An Increased Intake Of Folate May Halve The Risk Of Developing Alzheimer's

Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia and currently affects over 13 million people worldwide. By the year 2047, the prevalence of Alzheimer's disease is expected to quadruple.

Columbia University Medical Centre, New York, reported that after analyzing the diets of 965 individuals and then tracking them for six years, the intake of folate from both diet and supplements was associated with a significant reduction in the risk of developing Alzheimer's. Vitamin B12 and vitamin B6 by themselves did not yield the same benefit.

Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia and currently affects over 13 million people worldwide. By the year 2047, the prevalence of Alzheimer's disease (AD) is expected to quadruple. For the new study, participants had an average age of 76 and 70 percent were women.

After an average of 6 years of follow-up, 192 cases of Alzheimer's disease had been diagnosed. Adjusting for potential confounding factors, like age, sex, ethnicity, cardiovascular history and B6 and B12 intake, researchers reported that those with higher levels of folate through diet and supplements were associated with significantly reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease - giving a 50 percent risk reduction!

Folate is a B vitamin the body needs to make healthy new cells. It is found in foods such as leafy green vegetables like spinach, citrus fruits and beans. Folic acid is the form found in dietary supplements and in fortified foods. Elevated homocysteine levels also are linked to a higher risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke. The vitamins that reduce homocysteine levels are folate, vitamin B12 &  B6.

Higher folate intake was correlated with lower homocysteine levels, "indirectly suggesting that a lower homocysteine level is a potential mechanism for the association between higher folate intake and a lower Alzheimer's disease risk." The link between Alzheimer's and homocysteine involves the accumulation of amyloid proteins in the brain. 

In vitro studies have reported that folate deficiencies and high homocysteine levels may enhance the effects of amyloid-beta, which in turn would indicate an increase in Alzheimer's risk factors. It is generally agreed that additional controlled trials are necessary to determine the full value of this research. However, these latest findings add weight to growing evidence about the important role that dietary factors can play in preventing Alzheimer's disease.

There is no known cure for Alzheimer's disease, which gradually destroys a person's memory and ability to learn, reason, make judgments, communicate and carry out daily activities.

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