Today, the US FDA has licenced aducanumab, an amyloid protein drug developed for dementia treatment. It has already failed in clinical trials, adding to the 300 studies that have failed. In a normal world, if you test a theory 300 times and it fails 300 times you discard the theory – that amyloid plaques in the brain are what causes Alzheimer’s.

While aducanumab has been demonstrated to reduce brain amyloid, it hasn’t been shown to deliver any meaningful improvement in cognition. A recent meta-analysis of 14 anti-amyloid drug trials found no significant slowing of cognitive decline despite lowering of amyloid. Nor has it been shown to reduce the rate of brain shrinkage.

In contrast, the combination of B vitamins and sufficient omega-3 has been shown to reduce brain shrinkage by 68% over the period of one year in research by Professor David Smith and colleagues at Oxford University. No drugs have shown such a positive effect on brain shrinkage. What’s more, memory loss was not observed to decline further and 70% of participants were classified with a Clinical Dementia Rating of zero.

In many cases dementia may be preventable – not with drugs but with nutrition and lifestyle changes.

Omega-3 and B vitamins are a Dynamic Duo

B vitamins and omega-3 are so important for mental health because the membrane through which brain signals are passed is made out of an omega-3 fat called DHA, which attaches to a phospholipid. DHA is 98% of the structural fat of the brain. Seafood is a rich source of DHA and phospholipids, and phospholipids can also be found in eggs.

These two vital components of brain cells are actively bound together by a process called methylation. Methylation is dependent on B vitamins, especially B12, folate and B6. Zinc also has a vital role to play. If these nutrients are low a toxic amino acid called homocysteine starts to accumulate in the blood stream. More often than not the critical deficiency is vitamin B12, found in fish, eggs, milk and meat. The ‘deficiency’ may be due to dietary deficiency, but also may be due to malabsorption triggered by a lack of stomach acid, potentially exacerbated by certain drugs.

Putting Prevention into Action

Scientific research shows that the following factors are key in the prevention of dementia:

·     Sufficient intake and absorption of B vitamins
·     Sufficient intake of omega-3
·     Sufficient intake of antioxidants including Vitamin C
·     A low sugar diet
·     Good digestion
·     Having an active mind and social life
·     Regular physical activity
·     Good sleep and reducing stress

These are all areas in which you can make simple changes to support your brain health. Take our popular Cognitive Function Test today to discover the actions you can take that will make the biggest difference. We encourage everyone over 40 to take this test.

Like our Cognitive Function Test? Help us Upgrade It

Food for the Brain is crowdfunding to support the upgrade of its Cognitive Function Test, already taken by 360,000 people around the world.

COG-NITION® is a personalised and interactive ‘brain upgrade’ programme designed to help people make positive changes step by step, with the support of an engaging and encouraging community. It has been created in collaboration with leading dementia experts including Professors David Smith and Jin-Tai Yu.

By supporting our crowdfunding campaign, you can help us launch COG-NITION® this autumn. The ultimate goal is to save a third of people from getting dementia, which means a 100,000 fewer cases a year in the UK alone.

As a charitable foundation, we rely on donations to continue our vital work in this area. Please give whatever you can – every £1 you give helps someone somewhere make the changes to prevent dementia.

Thank you for your support.