The Vitamin Secret to a Healthy Brain

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If you’re anything like me, you’re probably doing everything you can to avoid Alzheimer’s disease. Because without a sharp mind, you will slowly lose your independence… and identity. That’s why you never miss your morning tee time or bike ride… eat plenty of fresh produce… and always take the opportunity to learn something new. But if you’re not taking this one supplement, your hard work might not add up to much in the battle against this brain-destroying disease. Researchers from the University of Indiana have pinpointed a certain wonder nutrient that can stop Alzheimer’s in its tracks… Even better? It’s cheap and easy to get your hands on. I’m talking about vitamin B3 or niacin, as it’s more commonly called. This powerful B vitamin helps your body turn food into energy, is essential for the proper functioning of your nervous and digestive systems and can even help lower cholesterol.1 Now, brand-new research reveals this nutrient might help stop Alzheimer’s disease at its source – amyloid plaques. These misfolded proteins develop in the specific parts of your brain that control memory and cognition and are thought to be a key driver behind Alzheimer’s and other memory disorders.

Blocks the Formation of Brain Plaques 

In a recent animal study, researchers treated five-month-old mice with Alzheimer’s with an FDA-approved oral formulation of niacin (Niaspan®) for 30 days. After treatment, researchers studied the brains of these mice, looking for changes directly related to Alzheimer’s disease.2 And boy did they find some! As it turns out, niacin helped block the formation of amyloid plaques resulting in improved cognition. According to Gary Landreth, PhD, Martin Professor of Alzheimer's Research and co-author of the study, niacin works because their research “directly showed that these actions were due to the HCAR2 receptor.” “In the brain, niacin interacts with a highly-selective receptor, HCAR2, present in immune cells physically associated with amyloid plaques. When niacin -- used in this project as the FDA-approved Niaspan drug -- activates the receptor, it stimulates beneficial actions from these immune cells,” Prof. Landreth said.3 Of course, this research is very early and was only performed in animals. But animal research isn’t the only science showing niacin can help your memory…

Niacin’s Memory-Sharpening Benefits Proven in Clinical Study 

In a 2004 study, researchers tracked the dietary habits of 3,718 people aged 65-and-older who resided in three south Chicago neighborhoods. For a period of five-years researchers followed their eating habits and, for 815 of these people, researchers performed clinical tests. At the end of the study period, researchers found that participants consuming the least amount of niacin were 70 percent more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease. Even worse? Those who ate the least amount of niacin experienced a significant loss in cognitive function when compared with those who were getting more niacin in their diets.4 Neuroscientists agree that niacin is likely to be helpful to patients suffering from brain illness or neurological disorders. For example, currently teams around the country are studying niacin in clinical trials to treat Parkinson's disease5 and glioblastoma (a hard-to-treat and often fatal cancer of the brain).6 Additionally, Prof. Landreth and his research partners plan to further their research into niacin and the brain by collaborating with Jared Brosch, MD, associate professor of clinical neurology, who is applying for a clinical pilot trial. While we await more research, it’s clear that increasing your niacin intake is probably a good idea.

Getting More Niacin 

You can increase your levels of niacin by eating the following foods:
  • Liver
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Beef
  • Fish
  • Brown rice
  • Avocados
  • Nutritional yeast7 
Niacin supplements are also available at your local drugstore or through on-line retailers for about five cents per dose. Some people prefer non-flush niacin capsules as the vitamin’s positive actions on the circulatory system can cause skin to flush. As always, check with your doctor before starting any supplement.
  4. found that those who,who got the least niacin 

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