Aging & Geriatrics
Resources
Basic InformationLatest News
FDA Approves Pfizer Booster Shots for Seniors, High-Risk AmericansTurning 65 Brings Big Health Care Cost Savings, Study FindsAfter an ICU Stay, Social Support Crucial for Seniors' SurvivalDiets That Lower Brain Iron Could Keep You SharpHealth Savings Accounts Used Least by People Who Need Them Most: PollCould Cheaper, Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids Finally Be Here?Postponing Retirement Might Help Keep Dementia at BayHow Common Is Opioid Misuse Among Seniors After Hip Surgery?Vaccines' Power Against COVID Hospitalization Fades in Elderly: StudyAHA News: What Are Researchers Doing to Stop Dementia?Why Water Is Key to Your Heart's HealthToo Much Screen Time Could Raise Your Odds for StrokeHaving Someone Who'll Listen May Be Good for Your Aging BrainA Second 'Closet' for Some LGBTQ Seniors Entering Nursing HomesAnother Pandemic Harm: Seniors May Have Higher Risk of FallingJust 200 Fewer Calories Per Day Brings Big Health Rewards for Obese SeniorsDeaths From Alzheimer's Far More Common in Rural AmericaSeniors Rarely Discuss Their Drinking With Their DoctorsLoneliness Raises Opioid Dangers in Seniors: StudyWant to Avoid Dementia? Add Some Color to Your Plate1 in 20 Cases of Dementia Occurs in People Under 65Reading, Puzzles May Delay Alzheimer's by 5 Years: StudyWhole Grains Every Day: Key to Your Health and WaistlineMedicare Mulls Coverage for Controversial Alzheimer's DrugMissing Teeth, Higher Odds for Dementia?Healthy Living Can Lower Your Odds for Alzheimer'sMost Cases of Dementia in U.S. Seniors Go Undiagnosed: StudyToo Many Older Americans Are Taking Daily AspirinCan Your Blood Pressure Medicine Protect Your Memory?In 11 States, Seniors' Low Vaccination Rates a 'Powder Keg' for New CasesMany U.S. Seniors May Need Better Knee Arthritis CareCataracts: Common, and Easy to TreatOld Age No Bar to Successful Heart Transplant, Study FindsPandemic Boosted Drinking Among Americans Over 50: PollAHA News: Overcoming Midlife Barriers to Exercise and Better HealthToo Much TV May Dull the Aging BrainHealthy Living Helps Prevent Dementia, Even If It Runs in the FamilyAHA News: Is It Normal Aging or Early Signs of Dementia?Do Prescription Sleep Medicines Even Work?Feel Younger Than Your Age? You Might Live LongerU.S. Seniors Are Getting Fewer Abdominal SurgeriesAHA News: How Social Isolation Can Harm Health as You Age – and How to Prevent ItMany Older Americans Aren't Telling Their Doctors They Use PotHigher Education Won't Help Preserve the Aging Brain: StudyLullaby Effect: Music Can Speed Your Way to Sleep, Study FindsHigh School Football Doesn't Affect Brain in Middle Age, Study SaysYour Zip Code Could Help or Harm Your Brain4 in 10 Adults Over 50 Consult Online Reviews When Picking a DoctorHealthy Living in Middle Age Really Pays Off in Senior YearsWill High-Protein Diets Help the Middle-Aged Build Muscle?
LinksSelf-Help Groups
Related Topics

Depression: Depression & Related Conditions
Elder Care

Diets That Lower Brain Iron Could Keep You Sharp

HealthDay News
by By Amy Norton HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Sep 13th 2021

new article illustration

MONDAY, Sept. 13, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Older adults who regularly eat foods like fish, nuts and olive oil may have less iron accumulation in their brains, as well as sharper memories, a small study suggests.

The brain requires a certain level of iron to function normally, but the aging brain can accumulate an excess amount. And that excess iron has been linked to cognitive decline — a slow deterioration in memory and thinking skills that can lead to dementia.

It's not yet clear that the extra iron actually causes mental decline, or that limiting its buildup will stave off dementia, said Valentinos Zachariou, the lead researcher on the new study.

But diet stands as one potential way to do that, said Zachariou, a neuroscience researcher at the University of Kentucky, in Lexington.

His team found hints that certain dietary nutrients might be protective — including vitamin E and particular fatty acids found in foods like fish, nuts and olive and safflower oils.

Using MRI brain scans, the researchers found that older adults with the highest intakes of those nutrients tended to have smaller iron concentrations in their brain tissue. They also performed better, on average, on standard memory tests, versus their peers whose diets had a relative lack of those nutrients.

The findings show only correlations, and do not prove cause and effect, Zachariou stressed.

What's needed, he said, is an "intervention" trial that directly tests the effects of a diet high in the nutrients.

The study, published online recently in Neurobiology of Aging, is not the first to link diet habits to slower cognitive decline.

The classic Mediterranean diet — high in fish, olive oil, vegetables and whole grains — has been tied to sharper mental acuity in older adults. The same is true of an eating pattern dubbed the MIND diet, which borrows from the Mediterranean diet and also emphasizes berries and leafy green vegetables (a source of vitamin E, among other nutrients).

Zachariou said his study did not focus on any particular diet. Instead, his team was interested in certain nutrients that, based on past lab research, may help remove excess brain iron or counter its ill effects.

"But," Zachariou noted, "there is a lot of overlap between what we found and the Mediterranean diet."

The study involved 73 healthy adults aged 61 to 86. They reported on their intake of particular foods in the past month, as well as their exercise and drinking habits.

In the end, a group of nutrients stood out as being correlated to both brain iron concentrations and memory performance: vitamin E, which is found in foods like leafy greens, nuts and vegetable oils; lysine, found in fish, chicken and beef liver; DHA omega-3 fatty acids, from sources like fish and olive, soybean and safflower oils; and LA omega-6 fats, also found in those vegetable oils, as well as almonds and wheatgerm.

The higher people's intake of those nutrients, the study found, the lower their brain iron concentrations and the better their memory performance.

That was true even when the researchers accounted for participants' age, exercise habits, alcohol intake and education levels — all of which may affect brain health.

"These are positive results that warrant further inquiry," said Angel Planells, a Seattle-based registered dietitian who regularly works with older adults.

But Planells, who is also a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, pointed to the wider reality: Most Americans, of all ages, have important nutrient gaps in their diets — typically consuming just one serving of fruits and vegetables a day, for example.

Because people are "creatures of habit," Planells generally recommends making small, sustainable dietary changes over time, rather than a wholesale makeover: Add a weekly serving of seafood, and have nuts on hand as a snacking option, for example.

Planells added that while diet is key to healthy brain and body aging, there are other factors, too — from physical activity to sleep habits.

"Let's all age gracefully," he said, "by eating well, being physically active, staying mentally engaged, making sure our mental health is taken care of, and getting adequate rest and recovery through sleeping."


More information

The Alzheimer's Association has more on lifestyle and brain health.

SOURCES: Valentinos Zachariou, PhD, scientist, department of neuroscience, University of Kentucky, Lexington; Angel Planells MS, RDN, national spokesperson, Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, Chicago; Neurobiology of Aging, June 22, 2021, online




328 W. Claiborne St.
P.O. Box 964
Monroeville,
Alabama 36460
Tel: (251)575-4203
Fax:(251)575-9459


powered by centersite dot net