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Brain Health: Nutrients protect against cognitive decline, improve brain function

Brain Health - May 2021

Vitamins C and E may lower chances for Parkinson’s

In Parkinson’s disease (PD), brain-nerve function slowly deteriorates, with a wide range of eventual physical and cognitive symptoms including tremors and memory loss. While there is no apparent single cause, oxidative stress is a common factor.

In this study, doctors followed and gathered food questionnaires from 43,865 men and women, aged 18 to 94, who began the study without PD. Over 17.6 years of follow-up, overall, those with the highest levels of vitamins C or E were 32 percent less likely to have developed PD compared to those with the lowest levels of vitamins C or E.

Doctors concluded dietary vitamins C and E may reduce chances for PD.

Reference: Neurology; 2021, Vol. 96, No. 6

Sulforaphane improved processing speed, memory

Earlier studies found cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and kale increased brain processing speed. These plants contain sulforaphane, a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.

In this study, doctors asked half of 144 healthy adults, average age 68, to take training exercises for the aging brain along with a placebo or sulforaphane; and asked the other half to play the 1984 tile-matching video game, Tetris, along with a placebo or sulforaphane.

While there was no improvement in the placebo/Tetris group, those that got aging-brain training—with placebo or sulforaphane—saw significant improvement in brain processing speed. Those taking sulforaphane—with placebo or brain training—in addition to improved brain-processing speed saw significant enhancements in working memory.

Doctors attribute the improvements in processing speed and working memory to the anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory properties of sulforaphane.

Reference: Nutrients; 2021, Vol. 13, No. 2, 352

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