In my practice, I help patients reverse the signs of Alzheimer’s by getting to the root cause of the problem…
I’m talking about our nutrient-poor food supply that can’t support more than the most basic cognitive functions.
Every day, your brain is being robBed of the lifesaving nutrients it needs. In my last letter, we talked about how ditching red meat is harming your health…
Today, I want to zero in on how a nutrient-deficient diet is stealing your memory.
You see, vitamins B12, B6, and folate (B9) have all been shown to protect against cognitive decline and other neurodegenerative diseases.1
B vitamins regulate homocysteine. Too much of this aminO acid triggers severe inflammation that drastically reduces blood flow to your brain.
This molecule has been linked both to brain shrinkage and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s.
I recommend getting your homocysteine levels checked. Levels of homocysteine rise as you age, largely because of a decreasing ability to absorb B vitamins.
You won’t hear this from most doctors. But you should insist on the test. It’s a simple blood test that may just save your brain. I help my patients keep their levels at 7 mmol/L or below.
One of the most important B vitamins for your brain is B12.
Studies shOw that deficiencies in B12 can spur faster rates of cognitive decline. Low B12 also pushes up homocysteine levels.
Additional studies show people who eat foods rich in vitamin B12 are at lower risk for Alzheimer’s disease.2,3
I recommend getting your B12 levels tested. Your doctor might tell you that levels between 200 pg/mL and 350 pg/mL are normal. I suggest keeping your level no lower than 450 pg/mL.
Of course, it’s hard to get what you need from food alone.
Most nutritionists say you only need 2.4 micrograms (mcg) of B12 daily. That’s way too low. I recommend at least 100 mcg per day. As I mentioned earlier, I advise my patients to take as much as 2,000 mcg daily.
You can take B12 in a capsule, lozenge, or spray. I prefer a spray because the capillaries and small blood vessels in your mouth quickly absorb the mist. They deliver B12 directly to your circulatory system, tissues, and cells.
B12 injections are important if your body has a hard time abSorbing the vitamin. This is even more common in older adults and those suffering from intestinal disorders. Here at the Sears Institute for Anti-Aging Medicine, I offer intravenous B12 injections. The shots are a good option if you have trouble absorbing B12. They bypass the gut and go directly into the bloodstream. If you’d like to schedule an appointment for B12 injections, call my staff at 561-784-7852 to get the details.
2 more B vitamins that boost brain health
You need two more key B vitamins to protect your brain. Here’s what I tell my patients…
1. Get More Vitamin B6
Also known as pyridoxine, vitamin B6 protects your brain from both memory loss and Parkinson’s disease. In fact, one large study suggests that a higher dietary intake of vitamin B6 may be associated with a 35% reduced risk of getting Parkinson’s disease compared to those with low intake.
Your body isn’t able to store very much B6. To avoid deficiency, you need to consume it regularly. The besT sources are grass-fed beef, free-range chicken and turkey, pastured pork, wild-caught halibut and salmon, organic bananas, red pepper, prunes, and avocado. Pistachios and sunflower seeds are also high in B6. But I recommend you also supplement with 250 mg of B6 a day.
2. Then Add in Vitamin B9
Boosting levels of vitamin B9 combats the inflammation triggered by high homocysteine. Your best sources are grass-fed liver and beef, dairy, pastured poultry, eggs, seafood, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, and Brussels sprouts. Look for vitamin B9 in the form of folate and not folic acid. Folate occurs naturally, while folic acid is an oxidized monoglutamate form of the vitamin used in dietary supplements and fortified foods.
Your body only absorbs half the folate you get from food. So I recommend supplementing with 800 mcg a day.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
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1. Morris MC, et al. “Thoughts on B-vitamins and dementia.” J Alzheimer’s Dis. 2006;9(4):429-433.
2. Hooshmand B, et al. “Homocysteine and holotranscobalamin and the risk of Alzheimer disease: A longitudinal study.” Neurology. 2010;75(16):1408-1414.
3. Vogiatzoglou A, et al. “Vitamin B12 status and rate of brain volume loss in community-dwelling elderly.” Neurology. 2008;71:826-832.
4. Shen L. “Associations between B Vitamins and Parkinson’s Disease.” Nutrients. 2015 Aug 27;7(9):7197-208.