When I met Mary, she was a vibrant woman in her 60s. She was full of life. But shortly after her husband died, her mind started to fail. Was there a connection between this traumatic event and her dementia? New studies say there could be a connection. What’s more, there are two inexpensive nutrients that can protect your brain function.
In recent years, researchers have found that two of the most threatening memory thieves are stress and depression. In fact, some doctors now consider many cases of dementia as severe stress, severe depression, or both. Dr. Keith Ablow of Foxnews.com says he now treats all dementia as severe depression.
Dr. Ablow says, “The symptoms of major depression can perfectly mimic those of dementia. Either condition can be marked by memory loss, profound changes in energy, difficulty concentrating and difficulty making decisions. What’s more, either condition can cause changes in motor function, leading to stumbling. Either condition can even lead to older adults wandering and getting lost. And either condition can lead to irritability, violent behavior or fixed and false beliefs (for example, being robbed or lied to).”
Extreme stress can cause many of these same symptoms. Stress causes your body to release excess cortisol. Overproduction of this hormone can affect your brain’s hippocampus. That’s a major source of recall and memory function. One study found that high cortisol levels can reduce your hippocampus volume by 14%.
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Unfortunately, the conventional route for treating these conditions is usually drugs, such as antidepressants. But a new study suggests two inexpensive vitamins can work wonders, especially on stress-related dementia.
Researchers recently found that taking folic acid and vitamin B12 for two years can significantly improve brain function caused by stress and depression. The researchers focused on elderly patients who all suffered from depression and stress.
In this study, researchers from Australian National University divided the participants into two groups. One group took 400 mcg of folic acid and 100 mcg of vitamin B12 daily. The other group took a placebo.
The group taking the supplements experienced significantly better memory function. In fact, both short- and long-term performance were better in the supplement group.
The researchers said stress causes inflammation in the neuron structures of the brain. This inhibits the brain’s ability to communicate via electrical and chemical transmissions between nerves. This limited communication prevents the brain from functioning properly and forming new memories.
B vitamins protect these nerve transmissions. So the more stress you have, the more B vitamins you need. Many studies have connected chronic stress to depression. It’s one reason doctors “discover” many cases of dementia after traumatic situations like Mary’s. The stress from the event can lead to depression and other cognitive problems.
You can stop this seemingly endless circle of stress, depression, and dementia before it starts. Begin with simple B vitamins like folic acid and B12. If those aren’t enough, add other nutrients, such as those in Advanced Memory Formula. If you already have dementia, I also recommend taking anti-inflammatory nutrients, such as those in Reduloxin. All of these nutrients can help restore the nerve communication in your brain. And that can restore your memory.
Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening is the editor of Nutrient Insider, a twice-a-week email newsletter that brings you the latest healing breakthroughs from the world of nutrition and dietary supplements. For over 20 years, Steve has worked hand-in-hand with some of the nation's top doctors, including Drs. Robert Rowen, Frank Shallenberger, Nan Fuchs, William Campbell Douglass, and best-selling author James Balch. Steve is the author of the book Practical Guide to Home Remedies. As a health journalist, Steve's articles have appeared in countless magazines, blogs, and websites.