The Best Mix Of Foods For Mental Clarity, Happiness & High IQ (M)

Scientists identify four eating patterns that impact your mental state.

Scientists identify four eating patterns that impact your mental state.

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A Mental Sign Of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Around one-in-eight people are low in vitamin B12.

Around one-in-eight people are low in vitamin B12.

Difficulties with memory and thinking skills can be signs of vitamin B12 deficiency, research finds.

Finding it hard to recall memories or to concentrate have both been linked to a deficiency in this vital vitamin.

The reason may be that vitamin B12 deficiency can accelerate cognitive aging.

In general, as people get older, their brains work less well.

However, having sufficient levels of vitamin B12 can help protect against this degradation in function.

Vitamin B12 deficiency has been linked to brain shrinkage and even Alzheimer’s disease by some research.

However, eating a diet high in critical nutrients, including B12, may help keep the brain from shrinking, research finds.

People with higher levels of omega-3, vitamin C, D, E along with B vitamins, also have better scores on tests of mental function, one study has found.

The study included 104 older people who were given tests of memory and thinking, with almost half having brain scans as well.

The results showed that one-quarter were deficient in vitamin D, while 7 percent were deficient in vitamin B12.

Those who had higher levels of critical nutrients had less brain shrinkage and higher scores on the memory and thinking tests.

Dr Gene Bowman, the study’s first author, said:

“These results need to be confirmed, but obviously it is very exciting to think that people could potentially stop their brains from shrinking and keep them sharp by adjusting their diet.”

The good news is that vitamin B12 is easy to correct either with supplementation or a change in diet.

Foods high in vitamin B12 include dairy, beef, salmon, eggs and low-fat milk.

Fortified breakfast cereals also contain vitamin B12.

People who may have difficulty getting enough vitamin B12 include vegetarians, older people and those with some digestive disorders, such as Crohn’s disease.

The study was published in the journal Neurology (Bowman et al., 2011).

The Mild Nutrient Deficiency Linked To Memory Loss

Supplementation reversed the effects of age-related memory loss.

Supplementation reversed the effects of age-related memory loss.

A diet low in flavanols is linked to age-related memory loss, a large study finds.

However, taking a daily flavanol supplement over three years reversed these losses.

Many people already get enough flavanols from a healthy diet, however those with a poorer diet will probably benefit.

Flavanols, which are a type of flavonoid, are found in nearly all fruits and vegetables, as well as in tea.

Participants in the study with a mild flavanol deficiency experienced boosts to their cognitive functioning of 16 percent over the three years of the study.

Professor Adam Brickman, the study’s first author, said:

“The improvement among study participants with low-flavanol diets was substantial and raises the possibility of using flavanol-rich diets or supplements to improve cognitive function in older adults.”

Neurons in the hippocampus

Professor Scott Small, study co-author, has been studying age-related memory loss for many years.

His lab has shown that changes in the dentate gyrus, a part of the hippocampus, are central to memory decline.

Flavanols, though, enhance neuron and blood vessel growth in this region.

Professor Small said:

“The identification of nutrients critical for the proper development of an infant’s nervous system was a crowning achievement of 20th century nutrition science.

In this century, as we are living longer research is starting to reveal that different nutrients are needed to fortify our aging minds.”

The current study included over 3,500 healthy adults given either a flavanol supplement or a placebo over three years.

The supplement contained 500 mg of flavanols, including 80 mg of epicatechins, a type of flavanol thought to be particularly effective.

The memories of those with mild flavanol deficiencies improved by 10.5 percent compared to placebo and by 16 percent compared to their scores at the start of the study.

Dramatic improvements

While the study provides strong evidence for the benefits of a healthy dietary flavanol intake, Professor Small is cautious:

“We cannot yet definitively conclude that low dietary intake of flavanols alone causes poor memory performance, because we did not conduct the opposite experiment: depleting flavanol in people who are not deficient.”

Next, Professor Small wants to look at the effects of rectifying a severe flavanol deficiency:

“Age-related memory decline is thought to occur sooner or later in nearly everyone, though there is a great amount of variability.

If some of this variance is partly due to differences in dietary consumption of flavanols, then we would see an even more dramatic improvement in memory in people who replenish dietary flavanols when they’re in their 40s and 50s.”

High-flavanol foods

Foods that containing high levels of flavanols include:

  • pears,
  • olive oil,
  • wine,
  • tomato sauce,
  • kale,
  • beans,
  • tea,
  • spinach,
  • broccoli,
  • apples,
  • and oranges.

Related

The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Brickman et al., 2023).

A Frequent Symptom Of Vitamin D Deficiency

It is estimated that up to 70 percent of people could have a vitamin D deficiency.

It is estimated that up to 70 percent of people could have a vitamin D deficiency.

Depression and pain can both be signs of vitamin D deficiency, research suggests.

As well as low mood, the most important symptoms of depression are:

  1. Decreased interest in life.
  2. Energy loss.
  3. Concentration problems.

People in the study reported pains such as:

  • Neuropathic pain, including shooting or burning sensations in their legs and feet (61 percent).
  • Sensory pain such as numbness and tingling in their hands, fingers and legs (74 percent).

Both depression and pain were reduced after participants were given vitamin D2 supplementation.

Some studies estimate that up to 70 percent of people could have a vitamin D deficiency.

The study, which lasted six months, included women with type 2 diabetes.

Dr Todd Doyle, the study’s first author, said:

“Pain is a common and often serious problem for women with type 2 diabetes and depression.

While further research is needed, D2 supplementation is a promising treatment for both pain and depression in type 2 diabetes.”

Foods that are rich in vitamin D include oily fish and eggs, but most people get their vitamin D from the action of sunlight on the skin.

That is why levels are typically lower in the body through the winter months in more Northern climes.

Professor Sue Penckofer said:

“Vitamin D has widespread benefits for our health and certain chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes.”

Other disease linked to vitamin D deficiency include cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.

The study was presented at a research conference at Loyola University Chicago’s Health Sciences Campus (Doyle et al., 2013).

The Surprising Psychological Treatments For Inflammatory Bowel Disorders (M)

Over three million Americans and 500,000 in the UK have been diagnosed with IBD, which includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

Over three million Americans and 500,000 in the UK have been diagnosed with IBD, which includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.

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A Mental Sign Of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Around one-quarter of people may be deficient in vitamin B12.

Around one-quarter of people may be deficient in vitamin B12.

A poor memory can be a sign of vitamin B12 deficiency, research finds.

People in the study with low levels of vitamin B12 had worse memory for both ideas and events in their lives.

Low levels of vitamin B12 can contribute to brain shrinkage, the study also suggested.

Good sources of vitamin B12 include fish, poultry, eggs and low-fat milk.

Fortified breakfast cereals also contain vitamin B12.

People who may have difficulty getting enough vitamin B12 include vegetarians, older people and those with some digestive disorders, such as Crohn’s disease.

Dr Christine C. Tangney, the study’s first author, said:

“Our findings lend support for the contention that poor vitamin B12 status is a potential risk factor for brain atrophy and may contribute to cognitive impairment.”

For the study, 121 older people were given tests of memory and thinking and had their vitamin B12 levels measured.

Brain scans 4.5 years later revealed brain shrinkage in those who were deficient.

B12 deficiency was also linked to worse scores on cognitive tests.

Dr Tangney said:

“Our findings definitely deserve further examination.

It’s too early to say whether increasing vitamin B12 levels in older people through diet or supplements could prevent these problems, but it is an interesting question to explore.

Findings from a British trial with B vitamin supplementation are also supportive of these outcomes.”

Other, common signs of vitamin B12 deficiency include feeling tired, experiencing muscle weakness and being constipated.

The study was published in the journal Neurology (Tangney et al., 2011).

6 Foods That Protect Against Memory Loss

The foods all contain an anti-inflammatory that combats age-related changes in the brain.

The foods all contain an anti-inflammatory that combats age-related changes in the brain.

Carrots, olive oil, celery, thyme, peppermint and chamomile can all help protect the memory against aging, research suggests.

All these foods contain luteolin, a flavonoid which is found in many plants.

Luteolin reduces inflammation in the brain that occurs with aging.

It does so by inhibiting the release of inflammatory molecules in the brain.

The conclusions come from a study of mice, Professor Rodney Johnson, who led the study, explained:

“When we provided the old mice luteolin in the diet it reduced inflammation in the brain and at the same time restored working memory to what was seen in young cohorts.”

Working memory is vital to holding pieces of visual, verbal or other information in your mind while you manipulate them.

Better working memory has been linked to improved learning, attention and other vital outcomes.

Professor Johnson continued:

“We believe dietary luteolin accesses the brain and inhibits or reduces activation of microglial cells and the inflammatory cytokines they produce.

This anti-inflammatory effect is likely the mechanism which allows their working memory to be restored to what it was at an earlier age.

These data suggest that consuming a healthy diet has the potential to reduce age-associated inflammation in the brain, which can result in better cognitive health.”

Other common sources of luteolin include broccoli, green pepper, oregano and parsley.

Luteolin works, the study found, by acting directly on microglial cells.

The microglia are cells in the brain that help regulate normal functioning.

Professor Johnson said:

“We found previously that during normal aging, microglial cells become dysregulated and begin producing excessive levels of inflammatory cytokines.

We think this contributes to cognitive aging and is a predisposing factor for the development of neurodegenerative diseases.”

For the study, younger and older mice were fed a control diet or one supplemented with luteolin for four weeks.

The results showed that older mice given the luteolin supplement performed almost as well as the younger mice in cognitive tests.

The study was published in the Journal of Nutrition (Jang et al., 2010).

The Vitamin Deficiency Linked to Moodiness, Lack Of Motivation And Tiredness

The vitamin may have a direct effect on the brain and has also been linked to Parkinson’s disease and dementia.

The vitamin may have a direct effect on the brain and has also been linked to Parkinson’s disease and dementia.

Depression can be a sign of vitamin D deficiency, research suggests.

Vitamin D deficiency is linked to a 75 percent higher risk of depression.

Symptoms of depression include moodiness, lack of motivation and tiredness.

Depression is also linked to physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach aches, dizziness and muscle pain.

The results come from a study of almost 4,000 older adults in Ireland.

They were followed up over 4 years for any depression symptoms and vitamin D levels.

The results showed that people with vitamin D deficiency were 75 percent more likely to have depression symptoms.

Vitamin D may have a direct effect on the brain and has also been linked to Parkinson’s disease and dementia.

Dr Robert Briggs, the study’s first author, said:

“This is the largest representative and most comprehensive study of depression risk and vitamin D status in older adults ever conducted in Ireland.

Our findings will provide useful information to help inform public health policy – particularly regarding the proposition of the usefulness of vitamin D treatment/supplementation for depression.”

The link between vitamin D and depression is not confined to older adults.

Another study found that vitamin D deficiency is linked to depressive symptoms and more negative thoughts in young women.

Dr Eamon Laird, study co-author, said:

“This study shows that vitamin D is associated with a health condition other than bone health.

What is surprising is the large effect on depression even after accounting for other control variables.

This is highly relevant for Ireland as our previous research has shown that one in eight older adults are deficient in the summer and one in four during the winter.

Moreover, only around 8% of older Irish adults report taking a vitamin D supplement.”

The study was published in the The Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine (Briggs et al., 2018).

An Alarming Sign Of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

B12 deficiency early in life can lead to these cognitive problems.

B12 deficiency early in life can lead to these cognitive problems.

Difficulties with memory and thinking skills can be signs of vitamin B12 deficiency, research finds.

People with a deficiency in this vitamin can find it hard to recall memories or to concentrate.

A study finds that low levels of vitamin B12 in infancy would result in poor development and performance on visuospatial skills and social perception tasks later on.

Social perception and visuospatial abilities are part of cognitive functioning, like understanding information and responding to them, or making judgments about social rules.

In this study, children low in vitamin B12 at 5 years of age scored poorly in cognitive tests such as recognising other children’s feelings and solving puzzles.

Dr Ingrid Kvestad, the study’s first author, said:

“Our results clearly demonstrate associations between early vitamin B12 status and various measures on development and cognitive functioning, as for example the ability to interpret complex geometrical figures, and the ability to recognize other children`s emotions.”

Their findings suggest that vitamin B12 deficiency causes harm or delays the development of children’s brains.

Previous studies have found that vitamin B12 is important for the developing brain, learning, problem solving skills, and memory.

Dr Kvestad said:

“The number of children in low-income countries that do not develop according to their potential is large.

Our results indicate that correcting children`s vitamin B12 status early may be one measure to secure a healthy development for these vulnerable children.

We are currently in the process of confirming our results in randomized controlled trials.”

Red meat is a good source of vitamin B12, but in South Asia and countries with low incomes, animal products are limited, thus low B12 status is often seen in those population.

For this study, 500 infants in Nepal underwent a blood test to estimate their vitamin B12 levels.

Then five years later, these children underwent several cognitive development tests.

Dr Kvestad said:

“Most of the Nepalese children participating in the study did not have severely low levels of vitamin B12, but their levels were suboptimal, below the recommendations for best possible growth and development.

It’s like a hidden deficiency of the vitamin in these children’s bodies, making their cells work rigorously to signalize imminent danger.

Our study is one contribution in the big puzzle to understand the implications low B12 levels might have on small children’s cognitive development.”

The study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Kvestad et al., 2021).

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