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Message 11 of 47

purzanthin ultra is this any good for brain health

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@RickM670682 I hear you!  There are lots of people who don’t like the taste.  Even one of AARP’s researchers who I worked closely with on the nutrition report and surveys and is convinced of the benefit of fish swears she won’t touch the stuff!  Fish is a good source of protein and omega 3s but fatty acids are also found in sources other than fish. Plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids include flaxseed, oils (olive, canola, flaxseed, soybean), nuts and other seeds (walnuts, butternut squash and sunflower). Replacements for vegans/ vegetarians exist that are not supplements, but the evidence is not as robust for plant sources of omega-3s.  I like fish - even canned sardines and pickled herring!  That’s my Swedish heritage coming through I think.  But if you don’t like the fishy taste, you went immediately hard core! What about tuna?  The milder white fishes such as haddock may not be as high in Omega 3s as salmon or mackerel but they get you past the strong flavor.  I have seen frozen fish that’s very easy to prepare, tastes mild, and is much more affordable than fresh.  But what about the nut and seed options?  Some milk is also fortified with it and eggs contain fatty acids.  As for your second can, what about donating it to your local food bank?  Here are some more links with nutrition suggestions.  

 

https://www.aarp.org/health/brain-health/info-2018/brain-health-nutrition-study-fd.html

 

https://www.aarp.org/health/brain-health/global-council-on-brain-health/nutrition/

 

https://www.aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/health/brain_health/2018/01/gcbh-nourishing-your-brain-health-...

 

https://www.aarp.org/research/topics/health/info-2017/2017-brain-health-nutrition.html?CMP=RDRCT-PRI...

 

 

 

Sarah Lenz Lock, AARP Expert Brain Health
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Message 13 of 47

but consuming that amount of fish is near impossible, and expensive.

 

Not to mention that some of us do not care for fish, at lease non shellfish. Because of this study I actually bought two cans of sardines thinking that people have been eating them for decades, field hands I worked with as a child would consume them as their meals, surely I can. 

 

Nope. I consume half of one can before I couldn't take it anymore and the memory of taste stayed with me for several days after. Still trying to figure out what to with the other can.

 

Rick

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Message 14 of 47

I take tumeric and preservision and C and fish oil vitamins

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Thank You!
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@PaulR427193 wrote:

"  Thank you very much your reply. . . Look forward to the continued discussion with you and other members of GCBH.  Paul R."


Dear Paul R @PaulR427193 

 

You clearly have done a great deal of work in the area!  We appreciate you engaging on these topics.   I have consulted with Paul Coates and Howard Fillit and am sending the response on behalf of us all.  We look forward to seeing your report in the future and happy your group is doing further research into these topics. 

 

We know that the GCBH report is not the "final word" in this area and we want and encourage greater scientific exploration.  One of the recommendations the GCBH makes is for supplement manufacturers to conduct rigorous clinical trials (e.g., randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trials) to test their claims for brain health and to have the data independently reviewed by other scientists who can evaluate the supplements' effects in an unbiased way.

 

You asked for a source of information on numbers of people deficient in vitamins in the US. We had the biggest question about B12 so we looked most closely at that.  Relatively few people in the U.S. have a vitamin B12/folate deficency.  In the report we generously estimated up to 15% in U.S. and 20% in UK based on reliable estimates because we didn't want to exaggerate the numbers but wanted to be fair for people who may be concerned.  It is estimated that 4.4% of US. adults 50+ are low on vitamin B12, and even fewer are low on folate. See, Evatt, M.L. et al. (2010) ”Association between vitamin B12- containing supplement consumption and prevalence of
biochemically defined B12 deciency in NHANES III (Third National Health and Nutrition Survey).Public Health Nutr.: 13(1), 25–31.  See also https://www.cdc.gov/nutritionreport/
pdf/Second-Nutrition-Report-Overview-Factsheet.pdf  See also, Allen, L. H, Am J Clin Nutr 2009;89(suppl):693S–6S.

 

We could not go into each and every supplement because there are far too many, and some are not widely-used.  However as part of the community dialog, we did want to respond with the summary provided by Cognitive Vitality under Howard’s leadership at ADDF.  The GCBH does not recommend any of these supplements because each of them lack sufficiently reliable evidence to support their use. 

 

Here is a summary of the information from Cognitive Vitality on the five specific types of supplements you mention:

Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR): ALCAR may improve cognitive function in elderly adults with fatigue based on two clinical trials from the same researchers, but no studies show that ALCAR can prevent Alzheimer's disease. For more information, visit the CognitiveVitality rating page: https://www.alzdiscovery.org/cognitive-vitality/ratings/acetyl-lcarnitine

Lion's mane mushroom: Lion’s mane mushroom has received some attention since a small double-blind controlled study suggested it provided benefit in Alzheimer's patients (in 2009). But the positive effect on cognitive function went away after 4 weeks of discontinuing the Lion’s mane extract. This pilot trial has not been replicated so we don't yet know if there is true benefit for brain health. 

L-theanine:  Based on a few short-term human studies, L-theanine has shown small benefits, though the long-term effects of L-theanine on cognitive health are unknown. For more information, visit the CognitiveVitality rating page: https://www.alzdiscovery.org/cognitive-vitality/ratings/l-theanine

Citicoline: Short-term treatment with citicoline was beneficial in individuals with lower cognition at the beginning of studies, but there is insufficient evidence that it is beneficial in healthy people with otherwise good cognition. No studies examined whether citicoline can prevent dementia. For more information, visit the CognitiveVitality rating page: https://www.alzdiscovery.org/cognitive-vitality/ratings/citicoline 

Bacopa monnieri: Small clinical trials have confirmed that bacopa can improve some cognitive test scores, though the effects are modest and may not yield an improvement noticed by the individual in daily life. No studies have tested whether bacopa monnieri can protect from cognitive decline or dementia.  For more information, visit the CogntiveVitality rating page: https://www.alzdiscovery.org/cognitive-vitality/ratings/bacopa-monnieri

Like vitamins and minerals, there are optimal levels for neurotransmitters--usually there is an inverted-U shaped curve where too little or too much are not good for your brain.  So without knowing where you stand in terms of brain levels of relevant neurotransmitters, it is difficult to know what supplements you would benefit from.  Too much can be harmful and if you have optimal levels, supplements that increase those levels will worsen brain health.

 

The GCBH is moving on to other topics now that our members are interested in, but we agree science evolves all the time and hope that new evidence is developed someday showing greater efficacy.

 

Thanks to Dr. Yuko Hara of ADDF for helping point us to this information. 

 

Sarah Lenz Lock, AARP Expert Brain Health
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@td4053 wrote:

I expected better from AARP. This article was hatched out of old school, medical bias toward supplements and laced with generalities.  . . . how can GCBH afford to be so close minded?

 

Dear @td4053 Thanks for your response.  I am sorry you think so.  The author of the article had very little space to briefly summarize a 30 page report so she could only only hit the major points. The report took many months to put together, and while we don't cover EVERYTHING about brain health supplements, there is a lot more in there than generalities!  Many of the report contributors have spent a lifetime studying the issues and hale from all over the world looking for the scientific evidence to prove efficacy of supplements so I certainly disagree with you about bias.  AARP brought the GCBH together so adults everywhere can benefit from their collective consensus and we make the information available for free to everyone to judge for themselves.  AARP set up this forum so that members of the online community can join the discussion.  You can see that many people have a lot to say on this topic.  Really glad you took the time to join in.     


 

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@mk46725882 wrote:

"Who wrote this article? The FDA? Pharmaceutical industry?  I have been taking supplements for more than 40 YEARS!  ...

Nutrition is powerful medicine and supplements are an wonderful tool. Knowledge is power. Teach yourself what you need to know. I did it and so can anyone. "


Dear @mk46725882 -- so glad to learn that you have had good results managing your IBS as many struggle with this.  I am also really happy to hear that you are in great health and totally agree people need knowlede to manage their own health.  This report was only providing information about evidence on brain health supplements.  In answer to your question who wrote the report, it was neither the pharmaceutical industry NOR the FDA, although we are very grateful for the FTC's & FDA's terrific help in reviewing the report's description of the federal regulatory rules of the supplement industry.  We are also very glad to see these agencies taking action against companies which falsely claim that their dietary supplement can cure dementia.  We list all the authors on page 22 of the report and provide information about potential conflicts of interest on page 27 -- although we found none.  The scientists, doctors, and researchers who served as our primary issue experts contributed their time and effort to come together to reach consensus and issue recommendations in order to provide a summary of the current weight of scientific evidence available for popular supplements commonly marketed for brain health.  You can find that list and their affiliations at this website:  https://www.aarp.org/health/brain-health/global-council-on-brain-health/supplements/

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@allanm254435 wrote:

"Don't forget vitamin D as well, has shown efficacy in improving brain health.  . . . it's ironic that today I received an email from Kaiser Permanente suggesting the use of Omega 3's, and vitamins B-12 and D for better brain health. "

 

Dear Allan @allanm254435  the report goes into detail about B12 and Omega 3's and Vitamin D.  Please note that Vit. D is used for many other health purposes beyond brain health and this report is not advising on these issues, but the evidence is not conclusive for Vit. D effectiveness for brain health.  

Here is what the report says:

Vitamin D

Vitamin D comes from food sources or when sunlight stimulates the body to make it. It is important for calcium absorption and nervous system function, and helps the immune system fight off bacteria and viruses. Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel are among the best food sources, and liver, cheese and egg yolks contain it in smaller amounts. Some foods such as milk and cereal often have added vitamin D. The body makes vitamin D when the skin is exposed to sunlight, although sun exposure increases the risk of skin cancer. One common recommendation is that older people get 15 minutes of sunshine on unexposed arms and legs three times a week. Note that sunscreen does block vitamin D absorption. Older people, those with dark skin, people who are obese and those who don’t get direct sun exposure are at risk for vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D supplementation is sometimes recommended for reducing the rate of bone loss in the elderly or strengthening bone health. For example, post-menopausal women are frequently advised to take vitamin D and calcium for prevention of osteoporosis. The 2019 AARP survey found that 46 percent of Americans 50 and older are taking vitamin D, and 43 percent are taking it for bone health.

 

Although some (but not all) studies have linked low levels of vitamin D to memory problems and dementia, and a few small studies suggest that taking vitamin D may improve some brain function, overall, there is not enough evidence to say that taking vitamin D pills can protect against dementia or to recommend taking it to improve or protect memory.

 

For more information, see the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements’ fact sheet on vitamin D and Cognitive Vitality’s vitamin D rating.

 

 

Life Stage

Recommended Amount

Adults 19-70 years

600 IU

Adults 71 years and older

800 IU

  

Source: Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine


 

Sarah Lenz Lock, AARP Expert Brain Health
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@robertl151850 wrote:

I wish AARP would do an article for us common folk , on how to detect  Bias in so called scientific studies..   . . .  ..Personally I only act when I see a number research papers on a topic agreeing on a similar outcome..  


Dear Robert:  please check out the full report.  The point of the GCBH is to do exactly what you are suggesting which is to summarize the evidence in various countries and from different sources.  The GCBH attempts to fairly and succinctly provide consumers with what the weight of current scientifc evidence says about a particular issue relating to its impact on cognitive health.  In this case, we show the relative strength of evidence for frequently used supplements for brain health and explain the difference between types of studies that exist.  With regards to supplements -- although there are many on the market, most don't have sufficient evidence establishing effectiveness of the supplment to improve brain health.  We point out the exceptions, like Vitamin B12, for example, for the relatively small percentage of people with a deficiency.  But the article and title provides the overall gist - in a very short space -- that unfortunately most don't have good evidence sufficiently reliable that the experts are able to recommend them.   You may not agree with the recommendations in the end, but you will see that the point is to layout what the "number of research papers" say on the topic.

https://www.aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/health/brain_health/2019/06/gcbh-supplements-report-english.do...

Sarah Lenz Lock, AARP Expert Brain Health
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