Keep Your Wits: Nutrients Support Brain Function


Alzheimer’s accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases, but it is definitely not a normal part of aging.  These studies looked at how resveratrol and omega-3s may reduce chances for Alzheimer’s disease and preserve brain function.

Resveratrol shows promise in AD

Doctors theorized that the anti-inflammatory nutrient, resveratrol, might slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In the first study of its kind, doctors were able to show that resveratrol appeared to penetrate the blood/brain barrier, with measurable levels detected in cerebrospinal fluid.

The study gave 119 participants with mild to moderate AD a placebo or 500 mg of resveratrol per day for 13 weeks, increasing in 500-mg increments each 13 weeks until reaching 1,000 mg twice per day from weeks 40 through 52.

After one year, those taking resveratrol had stabilized levels of a biomarker, Abeta-40, that normally declines as AD progresses. In a related finding, brain volume declined more in the resveratrol group than placebo, which doctors attributed to reduced swelling from the inflammation that occurs in AD. While some participants reported nausea or diarrhea, doctors declared resveratrol safe and well tolerated.

Reference: Neurology; September, 2015, Published Online

Omega-3s preserve brain function

Some adults carry a gene that increases chances for AD late in life. In this study, doctors measured the diets and circulating levels of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA in 40 older adults with healthy brains, but who were carriers of the gene.

Men and women who consumed the most omega-3s had the highest circulating levels of EPA and DHA and also performed better on tests of cognitive flexibility; the ability to quickly switch from one task to another. Parti-cipants with higher omega-3 levels also had larger brain volume in the area that contributes to the switching function.

Reference: Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience; May, 2015, Published Online

Betsy’s Notes: This article is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease. Consult your healthcare provider, especially if you have a medical condition or take prescription medications. For example,  omega-3s and resveratrol also thin blood. Resveratrol may have estrogenic effects.

Article copyright 2015 by Natural Insights for Well Being. All rights reserved. Used with permission.