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Fruit, Vegetables, Omega-3 Associated With Better Brain Health

December 28, 2011: 12:00 AM EST
A study of 104 dementia-free elderly people found that a diet rich in certain vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids and low in trans fats correlates with better cognitive function and less brain atrophy associated with Alzheimer's disease than their peers with diets less abundant in these nutrients.
The study identified three distinct nutrient biomarker patterns (NBPs) in blood that relate to cognitive performance and measures of brain aging and found that two NBPs were associated with more favorable cognitive scores and greater brain volume; one was high in plasma B vitamins (B1, B2, B6, folate, and B12), as well as vitamins C, D, and E, and the other was high in plasma marine omega-3 fatty acids. The third NBP associated with high trans-fat consumption was consistently associated with less favorable cognitive function and lower total cerebral brain volume.
Study author Gene L. Bowman says “The combination of the B vitamins, the antioxidants C and E, plus vitamin D was the most favorable combination of nutrients in the blood for healthy brain aging in our population."
G.L. Bowman, ND, MPH, L.C. Silbert, MD, MCR, D. Howieson, PhD, H.H. Dodge, PhD, M.G. Traber, PhD, B. Frei, PhD, J.A. Kaye, MD, J. Shannon, PhD, MPH and J.F. Quinn, MD, "Nutrient biomarker patterns, cognitive function, and MRI measures of brain aging", Neurology, December 28, 2011, © AAN Enterprises, Inc.
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