The 2010 OPTIMA (Oxford Project to Investigate Memory and Aging) study showed "that the accelerated rate of brain atrophy in elderly with mild cognitive impairment could be slowed via supplementation with homocysteine-lowering B vitamins, which included folic acid, B12 and B6". As individuals age, B12 absorption decreases because of declining stomach acid secretion. Poor diet and and increased alcohol consumption, along with decreased stomach acidity can compromise folic acid absorption. Antacid meds taken for digestive complaints or to reduce the intestinal irritation from non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to manage their arthritis or chronic pain. So, in essence, when you take in these meds, the environment of your gut is not very friendly for absorbing vitamins that may protect you from possible declining memory and brain atrophy.True, adding supplements by way of vitamin capsules may help, and could be considered necessary, but also may likened to a "finger in the dike" until a healthy digestive tract can prevail.
What else can one do to delay or possibly prevent brain disease?
1. You might try challenging your brain on a regular basis. We, unfortunately have a tendency toward gravitating to the direction of least resistance and just coast on previously developed abilities. Learning a new language, taking up a musical instrument or doing brain teaser puzzles for an hour each day (uninterrupted by e-mails, Facebook and Twitter!).
2. Do not skimp on sleep! Experts vary in their recommendation as to the specific number of hours needed, but somewhere between six to eight is a great place to start experimenting. During sleep, brain cells (called glia) open passages that flush out the brain's waste products and toxic build-ups, including the proteins that accumulate during dementia.
3. Exercise (I know you were waiting for this point!). Studies have shown that regular exercise activity, such as walking, cycling, circuit training and swimming can slash your chances of suffering from dementia by as much as 60%! Exercise facilitates the brain's ability to build connections (synapses) between cells when it is learning.
So, there you have it, another reason to watch what goes in your body, as well as re-consider what you do to and for your body, because, you got it, your head is connected!
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