According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s Disease, with 1 in 9 people aged 65 or over receiving an Alzheimer’s diagnosis from their Doctor. It is a very common condition in the United States, especially amongst older people, but what exactly is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s Disease is a condition which creates damage in the brain and, along with Parkinson’s Disease, it is a leading cause of dementia. It is a degenerative condition, and there are a number of stages of Alzheimer’s Disease. During the early stages of dementia, a person may begin with minor forgetfulness, which could progress to personality changes, incontinence, and speech difficulties. This happens as the nerves in the brain find it more challenging to communicate properly with the body.
There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s Disease, although there are a number of effective treatment options which can help to minimize the symptoms, such as AChE inhibitors which work to strengthen the link between the brain and the body. New Alzheimer’s research into preventative measures is also taking place, and findings suggest that there could be a link between folic acid and Alzheimer’s, with the vitamin potentially having the ability to significantly reduce the risk of developing the disease.
What is Folic Acid?
Many people have heard about the importance of folic acid in pregnancy, but there is much more to this B complex vitamin than meets the eye. Folic acid (Vitamin B9) is vital for health, growth, repair, and development, and helps the body to make new cells. As the body cannot make folic acid on its own, folic acid supplements are very important. In fact, folic acid is so important that it’s even made it onto the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines that are required for good long term health.
The Link Between Folic Acid and Dementia
Research shows that regular folic acid intake could reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease by as much as 60 percent and, along with Vitamin B6 and Vitamin E, it appears to be one of the most effective vitamins for Alzheimer’s and dementia. It’s not just about Alzheimer’s prevention, either, with folic acid potentially holding the key to slowing down neurodegenerative decline in people with the condition.
Exactly how folic acid reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease isn’t clear, although experts believe there are two ways in which the vitamin could be beneficial. Some professionals claim that folic acid regulates levels of homocysteine in the body, which is an amino acid which has long been thought to contribute towards dementia. Other Alzheimer’s clinical trials are also suggesting that the anti inflammatory properties of folic acid could help to reduce or prevent inflammation in the brain, minimizing the risk.
Sources of Folic Acid
The United States is one of many countries to approve the fortification of foods with folic acid, with the Food & Drug Administration currently approving the fortification of breakfast cereals, infant milks, breads, pastas, and some flours, such as corn masa flour, for example. This makes it quite simple and straightforward to follow an ‘Alzheimer’s diet’ on a day-to-day basis. However, it is also possible to buy folic acid supplements, or liquid folic acid, which may be more convenient for some people. The Food & Nutrition Board recommended a folic acid dosage of 400 mcg for adults, and slightly more for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to conceive; between 500 mcg and 600 mcg per day.
Is Folic Acid Bad For You?
Is Folic Acid for Alzheimer’s Safe?
Folic acid is safe and non toxic, and should not have any side effects in healthy people taking a suitable dosage. Large quantities of folic acid have, however, been linked to zinc and iron deficiencies. Increasing folic acid intake may be unsafe if you’re taking antibiotics, especially medications containing Tetracycline as folic acid may affect the body’s ability to absorb this. On the whole, however, folic acid is very safe for otherwise healthy individuals.
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