Proof That Vitamins Make You Smarter

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Proof That Vitamins Make You SmarterA new study has found that elderly people with higher levels of several vitamins and omega 3 fatty acids were, overall, smarter. They did better on mental acuity tests and actually had less of the brain shrinkage typical of Alzheimer’s disease. Meanwhile, junk food led to the opposite result. Score another one for nutrition.

This was the first specific measure of a wide range of nutrients in the blood and how they corresponded to mental health and cognitive function. It uncovered positive effects of high levels of vitamins B, C, D, E and the healthy oils most commonly found in fish. The study was published last week in “Neurology.”

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The study included 104 people (average age of 87) who were not at risk for memory problems or poor mental acuity. It tested 30 different nutrient biomarkers in their blood, and 42 participants also had MRI scans to measure brain volume.

Some of the findings to highlight are these:

— The most favorable cognitive outcomes and brain size measurements were associated with two dietary patterns: high levels of fat from fish and high levels of vitamins B, C, D and E.

— While age and education affected mental performance, nutrient status accounted for 17% of thinking and memory scores and 37% of the variation in brain size.

— Consistently worse cognitive performance was associated with a higher intake of the type of trans-fats found in baked and fried foods, margarine, fast food, and other less-healthy dietary choices.

— The study included a wide range of lifestyle scenarios to arrive at an overall consensus for a variety of people.

— While age and education affected mental performance, nutrient status accounted for 17% of thinking and memory scores and 37% of the variation in brain size.

— Brain size and heart function are both linked to the cognitive changes brought forth by the nutrients.

This isn’t the first time that nutrition has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease. But this is the first time that, using real blood measurements, we’ve narrowed down which nutrients you should focus on the most for Alzheimer’s disease prevention and overall cognitive strength.

Aim for all B-vitamins, vitamins C, D and E, and omega-3 fatty acids. Since New Year’s resolutions are on the table now, this is yet another reason to eat more vegetables — and fish.

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