Vitamin A Status At Birth Linked to Long-Term Risk of Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer’s

Cognitive FunctionA new study has found elderly individuals with low Vitamin A levels may be more at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease along with lower brain functioning.  Additionally the study found the even a marginal Vitamin A deficiency at birth might affect long-term risk factors.

This new study was made up of findings from mouse models as well as human population data.  The population study revealed that 75% of those with either a significant or even mild Vitamin A deficiency had some cognitive impairment compared to 47% with normal Vitamin A levels that experienced cognitive impairment.  The research on mice confirmed this finding.  Even a mild Vitamin A deficiency during pregnancy or immediately after birth was associated with an increase in the production of amyloid-beta plaques which are associated with Alzheimer’s disease.  Researchers found that mice deprived of Vitamin A performed poorly on standardized tests of memory as well as learning as adults.  Mice that had Vitamin A withheld while they were in the womb but were given a normal diet after they were born had lower performance in general when compared to mice receiving adequate Vitamin A in the womb but were deprived Vitamin A after birth.  It was found that some reversal of decline could be reversed with adequate Vitamin A supplementation.  Researchers concluded that monitoring Vitamin A during infancy as well as during pregnancy and eliminating a prenatal Vitamin A deficiency may aid in halting Alzheimer’s disease development.



Two-Thirds of Middle-Aged German Women Have Low Omega-3: Increased Risk of Heart Disease

Omega-3A new German population study has found over 70% of middle-aged women have low Omega-3 levels increasing their risk of heart disease.

Data from over 400 middle aged women who had taken part in a larger cross-sectional, nationwide multicenter study (VitaMinFemin) was analyzed.  The original study which was designed to determine the status of selected nutrients during different life stages consisted of over 2,300 individuals of all ages.  This smaller subset of participants chosen for this analysis focused on women between the ages of 40 and 60 years of age.

Researchers concluded that a large portion of middle aged women (97.3%) had an Omega 3 index below 8%.  An Omega-3 index of above 8% is considered to be high; a 6%-8% is moderate, a 4%-6% low and less than 4% very low.  Researchers also found 9% of study participants had the highest risk of heart disease (and an Omega-3 index below 4%).  Additionally 62.8% of participants were at risk of becoming an increased risk for cardiovascular disease with an Omega-3 index of between 4% and 6%.  The risk factors for other conditions such as depression and cognitive decline also have been shown to increase with a low Omega-3 index.

The benefits of Omega-3 intake have been established over many years and many studies.   The essential fatty acids EPA and DHA have been associated with benefits for heart health, blood pressure support, brain health and vision support.

Further studies are imminent.


Micronutrient Supplementation For Mothers Boosts Infant Cognitive Health

Infant CognitionA major follow up study has determined pregnant women should take more micronutrients besides iron and folic acid to increase the long-term cognitive development of their children.

The Supplementation with Multiple Micronutrients Intervention Trial (SUMMIT) lasted from 2001 – 2004.  Over 31,000 pregnant women participated in this study.  The study goals were to determine if more micronutrients during pregnancy were necessary to increasing long-term cognitive and brain development.  Half the study participants received iron and folic acid supplements (IFA) during their pregnancy and for 3 months after their babies were born.  The other half of the study participants received iron and folic acid in addition to other micronutrients like B6, zinc and iodine (MMN).

Positive effects of the MMN supplement group were seen in 487 children who were assessed for cognitive ability at the ages 3 – 5 years old.  After 10 years of age, researchers tested almost 3,000 children who were now between 9 and 12 years of age.  The MMN Group totaled 1,466 children and the IFA group had 1,413 children.  The goals of this second round of testing were to assess the long term effect of MMN supplementation on socio-emotional, cognitive and motor development in the children and to assess the effect of socio-environmental and biomedical determinants on these results.

Children born from women in the MMN group showed significant proficiency in general intellectual ability and procedural memory when compared with the children of the women in the IFA group. This is equivalent to cognitive development gained from an additional half a year of schooling.   In general the children born to mothers in the MMN group showed improvements in socio-emotional, fine motor and cognitive abilities when compared with the children of the other group.


Omega-3’s Linked to Better Cognitive Function in Mildly Impaired Older People

Omega-3 and CognitionA new study finds daily supplementation with Omega-3 essential fatty acids may improve measures of cognitive function like perceptual speed and memory.

86 people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) were randomly assigned to receive a placebo (olive oil) or an Omega-3 supplement (EPA 720 mg DHA 480 mg) daily for 6 months.  The average mean age of the participants was 71 years of age. Significant improvements in scores on Basic Cognitive Aptitude Tests (BCAT), which measure cognitive function, were seen in the group taking the Omega-3 essential fatty acid supplements.  Additionally significant improvements in working memory, space imagery efficiency and perceptual speed were seen in the Omega-3 group while no improvements were seen in recognition memory or mental arithmetic efficiency.  Men tended to see significant improvements in space imagery efficiency, working memory, and perceptual speed, while women saw significant improvements in space imagery and perceptual speed.  Both men and women saw significant improvements in BCAT scores compared to the placebo group.

Because the study group was small further research is needed.

Make sure your fish oil is molecularly distilled to remove potential toxins.  Also a Fish oil that is manufactured to comply with strict European standards will be free of heavy metals, PCB’s, dioxins, pesticides and other unwanted compounds.  An enteric coating will protect the Fish Oil  from the harsh environment of the stomach, and then  the softgel will better travel to the small intestine where it can be digested and its fatty acids released and absorbed into the body. This prevents a fishy aftertaste and odor, and is helpful to sensitive individuals.  Some products will use lemon oil to help with the digestion of the Fish Oil softgel without any fishy burps.



Study Links Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Vitamin D Deficiency

IBSA new study has found a majority of people who live with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) could be deficient in Vitamin D.

Participants in this double-blind randomized controlled trial received one of the following protocols:

A Placebo

A Vitamin D Supplement and a Probiotic Placebo

A Vitamin D Supplement and a Probiotic

Participants provided a blood sample to assess their Vitamin D levels at the onset of the study and took their assigned protocol for 12 weeks filling in an IBS symptom questionnaire every two weeks.

70% of those individuals that received a high dose supplementation showed an improvement in their symptoms.

IBS is a debilitating chronic disorder of the gastrointestinal tract.  It is not understood how this condition develops, although it has been confirmed that both stress and diet could make symptoms worse.

Prior studies have confirmed an association between a deficiency of Vitamin D and inflammatory bowel disease. Recent studies also show a benefit in the reduction of blood pressure, risks of heart disease and kidney disease with Vitamin D supplementation.


CoQ10 Supplementation Shows Benefits for Liver Cancer Patients Post Surgery

liver cancerA new study shows daily supplementation with 300 mg of CoQ10 significantly increases antioxidant capacity and reduces inflammation levels and oxidative stress levels after surgery for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common type of liver cancer.

41 patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) participated in this single-blinded, randomized, parallel, placebo-controlled study.  A random numbers table was used to randomly assign the participants to receive either the CoQ10 (300 mg) or a placebo.  The study lasted 12 weeks.  The levels of antioxidant enzymes activity was significantly increased in the CoQ10 supplement group.  Additionally the CoQ10 group had significantly decreased oxidative stress and inflammatory markers levels when compared to the placebo group.

Larger and longer studies are needed to confirm the benefits seen with CoQ10 supplementation in patients with HCC taken after surgery.

CoQ 10 is a cell oxygenator and supports the transfer of oxygen between the cells. It is an antioxidant and supports cardiovascular health by promoting energy on a cellular level. Scientific studies show Co Q 10 is three times more bioavailable when delivered in an oil based softgel capsule.


Vitamin C and E Supplements May Protect Against Age-Related Brain Declines

Cognitive DeclineData from a recent study shows daily supplementation with Vitamin C and Vitamin E could reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

Data from over 5,000 seniors collected over a period of time (from 1991-2002) was analyzed.  Participants were all over 65 years of age.  Seniors who were supplementing with Vitamin E and/or Vitamin C had a statistically significant 40% reduction in all cause-dementia and a 42% reduction in Alzheimer’s disease (AD).  Compared to non vitamin users, participants who were supplementing with either Vitamin C or Vitamin E separately saw a 43% and 46% reduction in the risks of developing Alzheimer’s disease.  Additionally, the risk of developing cognitive impairment not dementia (CIND), were reduced by 31% in the seniors who supplemented with Vitamin C and 32% for seniors who supplemented with Vitamin E.

As we age there is a natural decline in brain function.  Mild cognitive impairment is considered a transitional state and small changes in mental abilities and memory coexist with normal functioning.  These declines in functions may often be a warning sign of dementia.  Dementia is a term that is used to describe many different brain disorders that all share a progressive loss of brain function.  It is believed that Oxidative stress may be a contributing factor to this process.