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Senile Dementia Linked to Common Nutrient Deficiency

Written by Wellness Club on January 16, 2009 – 4:22 pm -

Senile Dementia Linked to Common Nutrient Deficiency

Here’s something Big Pharma hopes you never learn: simple nutrient deficiencies are at the root of most diseases.

Did you know that a single nutrient deficiency can cause everything from miscarriage and birth defects to cancer, heart disease, depression, hearing loss, osteoporosis and senile dementia?

In the case of the above-mentioned maladies, the missing nutrient is folic acid, a B complex vitamin. You’ve probably read in the news about recently completed studies that link folic acid deficiency to senile dementia, but these are certainly not the first studies to make this connection.

Folic acid, a water-soluble B vitamin, gets its name from the Latin “folium,” meaning foliage, because dark green leafy vegetables are a rich source of the nutrient. Folic acid is needed for nucleic acid (RNA and DNA) and red blood cell production. It is also required for energy production, especially in the brain and nervous system. Pregnant women have been advised to take folic acid because it is necessary for normal development of the spinal cord and central nervous system of the human embryo. This connection is so well-known that the U.S. government has mandated that foods be “fortified” with folic acid. In spite of this fortification, studies show that as many as 61% of the population may still be folic-acid deficient.

It’s not just pregnant women and their developing babies that need folic acid.

Folic acid, along with vitamin B6 and B12, keep homocysteine levels normal. homocysteine is an “intermediate” metabolic product that increases the risk of heart disease and premature brain aging when it occurs in high concentrations. Premature brain aging was the subject of this recent study, which continues to show a connection between folic acid deficiency and senile (age-related) dementia.

In one more recent study, researchers in the Netherlands evaluated the speed of thinking and memory, two functions known to decline with age. Over 800 subjects, ages 50 to 70, took 800 micrograms of folic acid daily for three years. At the end of the study, re-testing showed that the subjects who took folic acid had “significantly improved domains of cognitive function that tend to decline with age.” In other words, mental function of the folic acid group didn’t just remain the same, it actually got better over the course of the three year study. This is not the first study to connect folic acid with preserved mental function, but it is one of the largest and longest studies.

Folic acid deficiency is widespread in our culture due to the processing of grain and vegetables. Although it is found in green leafy veggies, cooking destroys folic acid. It is also present in organically-raised (grass-fed) beef liver, brewer’s yeast and asparagus. (And how much of these foods do YOU eat?) Many experts feel that it is nearly impossible to get a recommended daily dose of folic acid from food alone, and several population studies have confirmed this. Big Government obviously agrees with this assessment since they have required fortification of our food supply with folic acid.

Supplementation is an easy an inexpensive “insurance policy” against the dangerous effects of folic acid deficiency, but most “one per day” vitamins contain too small a dose to do any good. The recommended optimal daily dose (NOT the “RDA” minimal daily dose), is 400-800mcg per day. Remember that folic acid is a B complex vitamin, and when one B vitamin is low, the rest of the B complex is also usually low and should be supplemented.

Is it any wonder that Big Drug Companies support the “push” to outlaw vitamin supplements, given how many drug-treated diseases are actually caused by nutrient deficiencies? You’ve been warned while vitamin supplements are still legal: Don’t let a simple nutrient deficiency like low folic acid sneak up on you in the form of failing memory or heart disease. Supplement now, or face the prospects of declining years filled with prescriptions for (insert name of dementia Rx du jour / cardiac Rx du jour here) as answers to the effects of folic acid deficiency, brought to you by Big Pharma. Face it: there’s a real reason they hope you’ll never learn about this important nutrient…

P.S. My Maxi Multi Optimal Dose daily multi vitamin/mineral/trace mineral/antioxidant formula has always contained 800mcg of folic acid, because the importance of higher levels of this vitamin is not “new news” in spite of yet another study. Learn more about Maxi Multi’s here >>>


1.) Effect of 3-year folic acid supplementation on cognitive function in older adults in the FACIT trial: a randomized, double blind, controlled trial. Lancet. 2007 Jan 20;369(9557):208-16. Su7mmary: Folic acid supplementation for 3 years significantly improved the types of cognitive function that typically decline with age.
2.) Effects of folic acid supplementation on hearing in older adults: a randomized, controlled trial. Ann Intern Med. 2007 Jan 2;146(1):1-9. Summary: Folic acid supplementation slowed the rate of hearing loss (speech frequencies) in aging population.
3.) Low folate status is associated with impaired cognitive function and dementia in the Sacramento Area Latino Study on Aging. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Dec;82(6):1346-52. Summary: Low folic acid levels are associated with cognitive decline and food fortification with this vitamin is not sufficient to correct the problem.
4.) High homocysteine and low B vitamins predict cognitive decline in aging men: the Veterans Affairs Normative Aging Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Sep;82(3):627-35. CONCLUSIONS: Low B vitamin and high homocysteine concentrations predict cognitive decline.
5.) Homocysteine versus the vitamins folate, B6, and B12 as predictors of cognitive function and decline in older high-functioning adults: MacArthur Studies of Successful Aging. Am J Med. 2005 Feb;118(2):161-7. CONCLUSION: In high-functioning older adults, low folate levels appear to be a risk factor for cognitive decline. The risk of developing cognitive decline might be reduced through dietary folate intake.
6.) Homocysteine, folate, and vitamin B-12 in mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer disease, and vascular dementia. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Jul;80(1):114-22. CONCLUSIONS: Relative folate deficiency may precede Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia onset.
7.) Homocysteine and B vitamins in mild cognitive impairment and dementia. Clin Chem Lab Med. 2005;43(10):1096-100. Summary: Subclinical folate deficiency appears to precede dementia.

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