Posts Tagged ‘Folate’

Vitamins Make Senior Brains Healthy

Thursday, October 21, 2010
posted by Gilmore
Leafy Vegetables
Image by Prato9x via Flickr

Many supplements claim to increase the power of our brains, but they do not always provide the details. Seniors who are concerned about fostering their senior health especially in regard to their brains need to know the details. Every year research has been providing additional data that vitamins perform a vital part in maintaining memory and brain function in mature adults which certainly includes seniors. For some time it has been known that the B vitamins and folate that are found in green leafy vegetables, legumes, and other foods have attracted special attention. For example a folate deficiency has been implicated in depression and various forms of dementia in seniors. Combined deficiency in folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 appear to raise the level of homocysteine which may be linked to the development of AD. Elevated levels of homocysteine are certainly known to be a marker for decreasing cardiovascular health.
It turns out that one of nutrients that is very healthy for the heart, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, provides a key element for defending the brain against brain aging. The other elements that assist in defending the brain include the antioxidants such as vitamin C and vitamin E. Seniors need to be aware that they need to consume some of the foods that provide the full spectrum of vitamin E such as nuts and avocado, because the vitamin E typically found in multivitamin supplements contains only one of the components, the alpha component, of vitamin E.

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Is Folate or Folic Acid Good for Seniors?

Sunday, June 20, 2010
posted by Gilmore
Leafy greens in the sun
Image by prettydaisies via Flickr

In the popular media and even some health media folic acid is treated as being equivalent to folate.   Results from recent research show that folate is not interchangeable with folic acid in terms of health benefits for folks and this is especially applicable to seniors who are concerned about fostering their senior health.   It turns out that folic acid is actually an oxidized vitamin that can initiate cognitive decline in some seniors.  It can can raise the risk of some cancers such as colon and rectal and can also speed up the growth of existing cancers.  By way of contrast the folates are found in green and leafy vegetables such as asparagus, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, spinach, romaine, and lettuce.   No folic acid is found in any of these foods, because folic acid is a single molecule that was crystalized back in the 1940’s by a patent medicine company.

Folic acid is a relatively stable and patentable substance that is low cost compared with folate which has a very short shelf life, is expensive and can not be patented.  Back in the 1940’s companies chose to promote folic acid over folate for the above reasons.  For younger folks folic acid can be a healthy supplement, because their bodies can convert it into the folates that their bodies need.  For older folks such as seniors it turns out that their bodies can not convert folic acid into folates very efficiently.  Current research has uncovered cases of cognitive decline in seniors that appears to be due to supplementing with folic acid instead of folate.  This is good news for seniors who are concerned about seeking preemptive aging information, in order to promote their senior health.

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