One of the good things about brain health is that the main things you need are inexpensive or even free.
For example, you’ve got to have two simple vitamins that offer priceless protection from a brain-destroying amino acid. They’re available practically everywhere, for pennies. These two nutrients preserve memory and thinking power like all get out.
But millions of people have still not gotten the message. . .check below to make sure you do. . .
The vitamins I’m talking about are vitamin B12 and folate. And even if you know about them, keep reading because there’s a new development.
The evidence is clear – these two nutrients are crucial for keeping the body from over-producing homocysteine, an amino acid that can damage neurons. And homocysteine is a danger that increases as you enter middle-age.
Researchers at Temple University have now shown in frightening detail what a lack of these vitamins – and a resulting increase in the amino acid homocysteine – can do to the brain. Which I’ll get to in a moment.
Shockingly, estimates are that one in four of us don’t get enough B12.1 And about one in seven of us may not be getting enough folate.2 This is one of the major causes of the dementia epidemic.
Those deficiencies, and the resulting build-up of homocysteine, according to those Temple lab tests I mentioned, can cause some pretty ugly changes in your brain cells.
The Temple research reveals that an increasing level of homocysteine leads to the creation of what is called “abnormal tau protein” in the brain. As the tau accumulates it forms “neurofibrillary” tangles. The tangles kill off neurons which, in turn, kills off your ability to learn new information and recall memories. And that can lead to Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia as well as a whole range of other neurodegenerative diseases.
A Source of Brain Tangles
“Abnormal tau is responsible for the formation of neurofibrillary tangles in the brain of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia,” warns Dr. Domenico Praticò, the senior researcher involved in the study. “From previous research we knew that hyperhomocysteinemia [homocysteine build-up] is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, affecting memory and the formation of harmful amyloid beta plaques in the brain.”
Dr. Practico also explains that the study shows homocysteine leads to disruption of synapses – the connections between neurons that allow them to communicate with each other.
Now, if you want to energize your B vitamins’ abilities at protecting your memory, researchers also suggest that you get enough omega-3 fatty acids, the kind of fats found in fish oil.3
Research conducted at universities in Europe and Africa shows that B12, folate and the omega-3s have a synergistic benefit in keeping the brain’s neurons healthy and functioning more effectively.
You Need All Three Nutrients
In these tests, the scientists found that people who are very low in omega-3s may not benefit at all from B vitamins.
“We found that for people with low levels of omega-3, the vitamin supplements had little to no effect,” says researcher Dr. Abderrahim Oulhaj. “But for those with high baseline omega-3 levels, the B vitamins were very effective in preventing cognitive decline compared to the placebo.”
The evidence is super-clear: If you want to keep homocysteine from wreaking havoc with your neurons, then vitamin B12, folate (which is more effective than folic acid, the synthetic form of this vitamin) and omega-3 fats are a necessity. Otherwise, you’re running unnecessary risks to your thinking abilities, memory and a healthy brain future.