Normal aging is accompanied by a moderate decrease in brain volume (atrophy). But a significant atrophy rates. is associated with diseases like Alzheimer Over there would of brain cells available, the more we would be protected. Hence the idea to try to limit brain loss to prevent disease.
With aerobic physical activity
Different physical activities (walking, gardening, dancing …) improve brain volume and halve the risk of Alzheimer’s, according to research by the UCLA Medical Center and the University of Pittsburgh. The researchers studied a cohort of the Cardiovascular Health Study including 876 people in four US sites. Participants had an average age of 78 years and underwent MRI to measure the volume of brain structures, including those involved in memory as the hippocampus.
The results show that the increase in physical activity is correlated with larger brain volumes in the frontal lobe, temporal and parietal, including the hippocampus. Higher energy expenditure limited the loss of volume in the precuneus, posterior cingulate cortex and the cerebellar vermis.
Increasing physical activity there is a benefit to the brain with the key to up to 50% risk of Alzheimer less. Of the approximately 25% of people who had mild cognitive problems associated with Alzheimer’s, increased physical activity also had a positive effect on brain volume.
Aerobic physical activity therefore has a neuroprotective effect, improves brain structure and reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
With a Mediterranean diet
In another study, the researchers collected data on 674 people, average age 80 years and showing no signs of dementia. Participants completed a food questionnaire about their diet during the past year and have had a brain MRI approximately seven months after the questionnaire.
People with a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, legumes and olive oil, which consume low to moderate amounts of alcohol and eat less meat and dairy products have lower brain shrinkage than people who do not have that kind of power. People whose diet was closest to the Mediterranean diet had a larger brain volume of 13.1 mL than those who did not follow the Mediterranean diet. Their gray matter volume was 5 mL and greater volume of white matter 6.41 mL greater. It is the high consumption of fish and low consumption of meat that most influence this association.
“These results are very interesting, they show that it is possible to prevent brain atrophy and the effects of brain aging by adopting a healthy diet,” says Dr. Yian Gu, author of the study. Eat more fish and less meat is associated with lower brain shrinkage. “Consuming 85 to 150 g of fish per week and no more than 100 grams of meat per day would be an important protection against loss of brain cells, equivalent to 3 or 4 years of aging”
The benefits of the Mediterranean diet come from including omega-3 fatty acids from fish that keep nerve cells healthy, red wine and other sources of antioxidants and B vitamins that can help slow the atrophy of the brain.
With vitamin B and omega-3
A new study by researchers at Oxford University reports that, in elderly people with mild cognitive impairment, the group B vitamin supplements can prevent dementia or slow the memory decline associated with age but only when you have high blood levels of omega-3.
Here, the researchers investigated whether plasma levels of omega-3 modified the effect of supplementation with B vitamins on the brain atrophy rates. In this essay called VITACOG, 168 people over 70 years old and suffering from mild cognitive impairment received either placebo or high-dose vitamin B supplements (folic acid or vitamin B9, B6, B12) for 2 years. Omega-3 plasma levels were determined and participants underwent brain MRI at baseline and 2 years later.
The data indicate that, in people with mild cognitive impairment, supplementation with B vitamins slowed by about 40% brain atrophy compared with placebo but only among those with levels higher omega-3 at the beginning of the study. Indeed, in people with low blood levels of omega-3 supplements with folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12 had no beneficial effect.
The level of omega-3 fatty acids is modulated by the amount of consumed fats rich in alpha-linolenic acid (walnut, linseed, rapeseed and flax …) and in EPA and DHA fatty acids which can be manufactured by the body from vegetable sources already cited, or made by fatty fish, crustaceans, shellfish. Moderate and regular wine consumption also increases the omega-3 levels in the blood. Also avoid the excesses of the family competing fatty acids, omega-6 (sunflower, corn, grapeseed).
“We have shown that the effect of B vitamin supplementation on the level of brain atrophy depends on pre-existing plasma concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids; this could explain the failure of some trials of B vitamins and brain function, “the authors explain.