Healthy Diet Linked to Better Memory Function in the Elderly
Researchers from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine have linked a higher consumption of particular nutrients to lower brain iron concentration and greater cognitive performance in the elderly.
Their research stresses the need for non-heme iron balance for most advantageous neuronal function. They have also linked too much non-heme brain iron to neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis. Moreover, their research also showed that high levels of brain iron impaired cognitive function in people aging normally.
A significant concern is whether environmental variables, such as a balanced diet, might decrease age-associated increases in brain iron and concomitant cognitive losses.
To clarify this, the researchers observed the link between brain iron, cognitive performance, and dietary intake in a group of healthy elderly aged 61–86.
Valentinos Zachariou, Ph.D and his team used a few ways to resolve this concern:
- computer assessments to assess working memory function
- questionnaires to collect nutrition data, and
- quantitative susceptibility mapping (MRI technique) to measure iron levels in brain tissue
The results showed that being older was linked to weaker working memory function and increased levels of brain iron concentration, which was in line with earlier research.
However, the elderly who consumed a high amount of nutrients found in olive oils, soybeans, nuts, and fish (such as DHA omega-3, LA omega-6 PUFA, vitamin E, and lysine,) had lower brain iron and more outstanding working memory function than would be predicted for their age.
The findings imply that these nutrients may give protection against brain iron accumulation and cognitive loss in older individuals, according to Zachariou.
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