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Study: Alzheimer’s brain shrinkage slowed by Omega 3s, Vitamin B

Fighting dementia with supplements

The potentially groundbreaking study from the U.K. had been published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition previously but was only now presented at the just concluded four day Alzheimer’s Disease International Conference in Perth, Australia.

The lead author of the study, Prof. David Smith, said it is groundbreaking because it is the first time that such a simple method of avoiding Alzheimer’s has been found.

“This is a very exciting and important result,” the professor told the Daily Express. “It is the first treatment to show Alzheimer’s related brain shrinkage can be prevented. It means that something so simple as keeping your omega-3 levels high and supplementing B vitamins if you are at risk could dramatically reduce a person’s risk.”

Prof. Smith believes when patients begin to show early signs of dementia, they should immediately be given Omega 3s and B vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid. Taking them before signs of dementia, along with a healthy lifestyle, is also recommended.

Alzheimer’s study methods

The Oxford research team looked at 168 patients with early signs of dementia, measuring their brain shrinkage over 24 months. The study found a significant reduction in brain shrinkage — a virtual halt of brain shrinkage — in those patients combining high-levels of Omega 3s and high-levels of vitamin B. Their cognitive impairment was likewise halted.

Those given placebos showed no reduction in brain shrinkage and no reduction in cognitive impairment. The results show, researchers say, Alzheimer’s and other dementia are preventable diseases.

Prof. Smith, professor emeritus of Pharmacology at Oxford, has found links between supplements and improvement in memory loss in prior studies, but this one is the most promising. He said currently “when people come to a memory clinic there’s nothing now that can help those showing signs of memory loss.”

He is now convinced a regime of supplements can.

It is estimated there are now more than 44 million cases of dementia worldwide and the numbers are rising rapidly. In the U.K., for example, there are 225,000 new cases of dementia each year, or one every three minutes; in the United States every 67 seconds there is a new case and dementia is the sixth leading cause of death in the country.

Those numbers are even more severe in developing countries, home to 62 percent of the world’s dementia patients; that percentage is rising. Overall, by the year 2030 it’s estimated there will be 75 million dementia patients worldwide, by 2050 there will be over 135 million.

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