Diet Memory

Diets high in saturated fat, salt, alcohol, and cholesterol and low in polyunsaturated fats and fiber can produce hypertension and athe rosclerosis of the cerebral arteries that gradually reduce flow of nutrients and oxygen.9 Foods high in antioxidant nutrients (see pp.115) may reduce free-radical damage to brain cells and reduce risk of atheroscle-rosis.10 In older people decreased digestive function leads to poor absorption of certain nutrients from the diet. Even marginal deficiencies of several of the B vitamins - particularly thiamin, niacin, folate, and vitamin B12 -can impair mental function.911 Reactive hypoglycemia (see pp. 185), triggered by high intakes of refined carbohydrate and sugar, can also interfere with brain function. Brain levels of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that is vital to memory, can be maintained by regular consumption of choline-rich foods, such as eggs, nuts, and cauliflower. Over time, regular consumption of a nutritious, well-balanced diet - low in saturated fat, alcohol, and salt, and rich in choline, antioxidant nutrients, minerals, and B vitamins - can help maintain optimum mental function.

Micronutrients

• Memory

Nutrient

Suggested daily dose

Comments

Vitamin B complex

Balanced formula containing 50 mg thiamin, niacin, and vitamin B6, 50 |ig vitamin B12, and 0.4 mg folic acid

Mild deficiencies of vitamin B12,11 thiamin, and folic acid are common in older adults and can impair memory. Niacin may help maintain blood circulation through small blood vessels in the brain. In older people who absorb vitamin B12 poorly, vitamin B12 may need to be given by intramuscular injection

A building blockfor brain synthesis of acetylcholine.12 Pantothenic acid is essential for synthesis of acetylcholine

Deficiencies of iron,13 zinc, and other minerals can impair brain function

Antioxidants may protect against the age-associated decline in brain cells

Vitamin B complex

Choline plus pantothenic acid

Multimineral supplement Vitamin E plus selenium

Balanced formula containing 50 mg thiamin, niacin, and vitamin B6, 50 |ig vitamin B12, and 0.4 mg folic acid

5 g (as high-quality lecithin) with 50 mg pantothenic acid Containing ample amounts of iron and zinc 400 mg vitamin E; 200 |ig selenium

Mild deficiencies of vitamin B12,11 thiamin, and folic acid are common in older adults and can impair memory. Niacin may help maintain blood circulation through small blood vessels in the brain. In older people who absorb vitamin B12 poorly, vitamin B12 may need to be given by intramuscular injection

A building blockfor brain synthesis of acetylcholine.12 Pantothenic acid is essential for synthesis of acetylcholine

Deficiencies of iron,13 zinc, and other minerals can impair brain function

Antioxidants may protect against the age-associated decline in brain cells

O- Dye, hyperactive -O— Placebo, hyperactive —¿s— Placebo, nonhyperactive —M- Dye, nonhyperactive

13.30

09.30 (challange)

13.30

O- Dye, hyperactive -O— Placebo, hyperactive —¿s— Placebo, nonhyperactive —M- Dye, nonhyperactive

Time of testing

Fig. 5.26: Causes of dementia.

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