Update from Patrick Holford on Free Test and Preventing Age-Related Memory Loss

May 23, 2011 by  
Filed under Health, Healthy Ageing

You may have seen the item in the newspapers talking about important research that has been completed at Oxford University that shows that you can prevent both the age-related memory loss and brain shrinkage associated with Alzheimer’s disease – and a 15 minute free on-line test.

In case you didn’t, I wanted to pass on this information that came to me from nutritionist Patrick Holford and that he has asked to be passed on to as many people as possible. It is important because what you do next can make all the difference to what happens to your mind later in life.

In essence, what has been discovered is that a toxic amino acid called homocysteine both predicts risk, and causes the brain damage that is the hallmark of Alzheimer’s – and, most importantly, you can lower your homocysteine level (if you need to) with a simple B vitamin supplement. It is especially important to know your homocysteine level if you do have any signs of memory decline. A not-for-profit educational charity, www.foodforthebrain.org has created the first free, on-line Cognitive Function Test, validated for anyone over 50. It takes 15 minutes to complete.

If your score is slightly below par it becomes doubly important to know your homocysteine level. A level above 9.5 micromol/l (the average for people over 50 is 11micromol/l) is associated with accelerated brain shrinkage and memory loss. Your doctor can test your homocysteine level (or you can do it yourself with a home test kit from YorkTest Laboratories). If your Cognitive Function Test is below par it both gives you clear instructions on how to protect your memory and concentration, and generates an optional letter for your GP suggesting homocysteine testing.

If your homocysteine level is above 9.5 this important research has proven that supplementing high doses of vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid stop accelerated brain shrinkage and memory decline. The Cognitive Function Test explains exactly how much you need and how best to get them.

The first step is to take the free Cognitive Function Test. Chris is a case in point. At age 59 his memory was rapidly going downhill – he kept losing his car in multi-storey car parks. His homocysteine was 119, way above 9.5. Now, 12 months later, his homocysteine is below this cut-off point and, His memory and concentration is completely restored, his energy is so good he now exercises for an hour every day and his sex drive has returned. “You have saved my life, or, at least made it worth living again.” says Chris.

If you want to know the full story of this really important breakthrough then visit the Food for the Brain website. If you want to read more about what you can do to help yourself then read Patrick Holford’s book about everything that works in The Alzheimers Prevention Plan.

And, in case you have alrady forgotten it, the free, on-line Cognitive Function Test is at www.foodforthebrain.org

Diabetes and memory loss solution

Another story that interested me this week, also came from Canada and the Baycrest Center. This time they were reporting on the link between diabetes, high-fat foods and memory loss.

Apparently, adults with type 2 diabetes who eat unhealthy, high-fat, meals can suffer from some reduction in their ability to remember things immediately after eating such a meal. Possibly because they have fallen asleep while digesting such a heavy meal, but there is hope as the temporary memory loss can be offset by taking antioxidant vitamins C and E with the meal.

It is already known that diabetes is linked to the ability to retain information, but now it seems that adults with type 2 diabetes are especially vulnerable to acute memory loss after eating unhealthy foods. The new findings appeared in a recent issue of Nutrition Research, a professional peer-reviewed journal, and suggests that taking high doses of antioxidant vitamins C and E with the meal may help minimize those memory slumps.

Type 2 diabetes is associated with chronic oxidative stress, a major contributor to cognitive decline and Alzheimer disease. If you have an unhealthy diet, then that raises your level of free radicals and those unstable molecules can damage tissue, including brain tissue. These destructive molecule reactions typically occur over a one-to-three hour period after you have eaten but don’t think that popping a supplement pill will do the trick on its own. It’s a place to start, and the study used vitamin C of 100mg and vitamin E of 800 mg taken with the meal, but do check with your doctor as there are contraindications for taking high doses.

Specifically, tell your doctor if you are taking warfarin as you may not be able to take vitamin E without special monitoring during treatment, and also consult your doctor if you are pregnant or breast-feeding a baby.

Ideally you will change your diet to one that is high in antioxidants to chase down those free radicals – look back at the article on the Mediterranean Diet as it is generally accepted to be one of the most health-giving there is.