Alzheimer’s is an insidious disease and the leading cause of dementia. It’s also one of the major causes of death in old age. Diet plays a major role in preventing the disease. In fact, having high concentrations of the omega-3 fatty acid, DHA, in the blood can halve the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study that is published in Nutrients. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is found in oily fish and fish oil supplements. This essential fatty acid is also found in all our cell membranes (including nerve cells) and plays a key role in maintaining our general health and cognitive skills. Unfortunately, modern diets contain far too little omega-3, but science is not quite sure how much we need.
- and increase your lifespan
Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death. However, in 2013, Professor Urban Alehagen, a Swedish cardiologist, demonstrated that giving supplements of selenium and Q10 to seniors could strengthen their hearts and reduce their cardiovascular mortality rate by over 50 percent. In follow-ups of his research, it was seen that the two supplements had a long-term effect on lifespan, but there is more to the story. In a whole new study that is published in European Journal of Nutrition, Alehagen manages to show in detail that selenium and Q10 have a positive effect on oxidative stress and inflammation at the same time as improving a number of biomarkers of heart health. He also explains why it can be a challenge to get enough Q10 and selenium through an entire life.
The risk of dementia and neurological disorders increases with age. Diet plays an important role and it is assumed that the widespread lack of vitamin K2 is particularly relevant. In order to test this hypothesis, a group of scientists measured levels of vitamin K2 in the brains of deceased seniors. They found significantly fewer cases of cognitive decline, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease in brains with higher K2 levels. This has something to do with the fact that vitamin K2 counteracts atherosclerosis, accumulation of harmful protein, and brain inflammation. The study is published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia and sheds a whole new light on vitamin K’s potential role in brain health and the importance of getting enough of this nutrient.
Around one billion people worldwide are believed to lack vitamin D. This gives cause for concern when it comes to public health, also with regard to pregnant women and their children. Several studies link vitamin D deficiency to a number of different pregnancy-related complications such as preeclampsia, increased risk of preterm delivery, and the need for a Caesarean section. There is also a risk of low birth weight, weak bones, and later development of bronchitis, asthma, type 1 diabetes, sclerosis, and autism, according to a review article published in Nutrients. The authors believe it is necessary to give supplements to help correct vitamin D deficiencies in the expecting mothers and even in the children after birth to prevent many of the diseases and complications linked to low vitamin D status.
Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancer types. Although the diet is of huge importance, the understanding of minerals and their interactions and preventative effect is limited. Earlier studies have shown that calcium and selenium have protective roles. It also looks as if having more selenium in the blood can improve the effect of calcium. This was demonstrated in a new Polish study that is published in BMC Nutrition. The scientists point out that there is widespread selenium deficiency in Europe and that supplementation may be needed.
Congenital heart defects are the most common birth defect on a global scale. The condition is associated with a number of different complications and even comes with an increased risk of infant death. Maternal nutritional status is vital for the development of the fetus, and a team of Chinese scientists has looked closer at how selenium, zinc, and copper affect the development of the disease. They found that a relatively high intake of selenium and zinc lowers the risk of congenital heart defects. Therefore, the scientists call for increased focus on these two minerals during pregnancy and advocate the use of supplements.