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Nutrition: 4 Vitamins That Strengthen Older Brains

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Source NY Times

Higher blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin D and vitamin E are associated with better mental functioning in the elderly, a new study has found.

Researchers measured blood levels of these nutrients in 104 men and women, whose average age was 87. The scientists also performed brain scans to determine brain volume and administered six commonly used tests of mental functioning. The study is in the Jan. 24 issue of Neurology.

After controlling for age, sex, blood pressure, body mass index and other factors, the researchers found that people with the highest blood levels of the four vitamins scored higher on the cognitive tests and had larger brain volume than those with the lowest levels.

Omega-3 levels were linked to better cognitive functioning and to healthier blood vessels in the brain, but not to higher brain volume, which suggests that these beneficial fats may improve cognition by a different means.

Higher blood levels of trans fats, on the other hand, were significantly associated with impaired mental ability and smaller brain volume.

The lead author, Gene L. Bowman, a researcher in neurology at Oregon Health and Science University, said that the study could not determine whether taking supplements of these nutrients would decrease the risk for dementia. But he added: “What’s the harm in eating healthier? Fish, fruits, vegetables all have these nutrients, and staying away from trans fats is one key thing you can do.”

About the Author:

Dr Wiens created the very first chiropractic information page on the web in Nov 1994. In 1995 he joined as chief designer. He lives in Canada.


  1. Frank M. Painter, D.C. January 6, 2012 at 1:02 pm


    This study also emphasized that those individuals with the highest levels trans-fats (junk food) in their diets also had lower cognitive abilities, and their brains were smaller (“Hey mom, I shrunk my brain!”). YUCK!

    Here’s a link to the primary source:

    And here’s some other reviews of this study:

  2. karl January 18, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    Trans fats(artificial) increase LDL’s and decreases HDL’s. I didn’t really like that rule/law that says if a serving has less than 0.5 gram of trans fats it’s considered zero. Although somewhat difficult for many to avoid even a small amount of routine trans fat consumption is bad news. Among other concerns I believe trans fat comsumption relates to systemic inflammation. No Oreo cookies bummer.

  3. Dan Spinato January 30, 2012 at 12:03 am

    Another good point would be to start on diets rich with these vitamins and minerals early on. You don’t have to wait to be 87 to start eating for your brain of course.

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