Low vitamin D levels linked to increased risk of dementia

A study on 1658 participants showed that people with low levels of vitamin D have about twice higher risk of developing dementia.

Vitamin D and the risk of dementia and Alzheimer disease

An information about how to maintain proper serum witamin D levels  can be found here:

Have a good night! – new meaning for patients suffering from Alzheimer?s disease

Journal Club 2014.11.21

Everyone realizes how important a well sleep is for a proper functioning on the next day. When we are young we deal with the lack of sleep much better than the elderly people. Patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) usually are characterised by a very disturbed rhythm of sleep and awake periods. Melatonin ? a hormone which is produced at night and which secretion is hampered by the daylight is the main regulator of the sleep-awake rhythm of our body ? so called circardian rythm. The level of melatonin reaches highest levels during the night time when we are not introduced to light. Artificial light may disturb melatonin secretion and may make falling asleep harder. The levels of melatonin are probably generally lowered in AD patients. Group of researchers from Great Britain, the USA and Israel head by Alan Wade (Clin Interv Aging, 2014) asked a question whether supplementing melatonin in the form of the medicine – containing the melatonin, prolonged release tablets would improve the condition of AD patients. Six-months clinical study performed by this team, while maintaining all methodological standards of clinical trials, showed that, examined patients divided into two groups: first receiving the standard AD therapy with inhibitors of the acetylcholinesterase, without or with memantine and obtaining placebo, and second analogous group but receiving melatonin instead of placebo. Patients from placebo group were worse in cognitive tests and tests of the activities of everyday life, and were also characterized by an inferior quality of the sleep in comparison to the melatonin group receiving the melatonin prolonged-release tablets (1 tablet, 2 mg per day, 2 hours before sleep). Significant difference between these two groups of patients (total 80 patients) is pointing to a positive effect of the supplemented melatonin on the restoration of the better day-night rhythm. Perhaps also to the negative influence of disturbances of this rhythm on the process of the progression of cognition decay. One may say, that everyone is a “cyclist” and restoring the appropriate twenty-four hours sleep-awake cycle, at least partially, helps to maintain health.

DS, language edited by Tomasz Stępkowski

Omega 3 Fatty Acids: How Much is Enough?

From University of Maryland, Medical Center

Omega-3 fatty acids


Omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids: They are necessary for human health but the body can?t make them — you have to get them through food. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish, such as salmon, tuna, and halibut, other seafood including algae and krill, some plants, and nut oils. Also known as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), omega-3 fatty acids play a crucial role in brain function, as well as normal growth and development. They have also become popular because they may reduce the risk of heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish (particularly fatty fish such as mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, and salmon) at least 2 times a week.

Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. Omega-3 fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain and appear to be important for cognitive (brain memory and performance) and behavioral function. In fact, infants who do not get enough omega-3 fatty acids from their mothers during pregnancy are at risk for developing vision and nerve problems. Symptoms of omega-3 fatty acid deficiency include fatigue, poor memory, dry skin, heart problems, mood swings or depression, and poor circulation.

It is important to have the proper ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 (another essential fatty acid) in the diet. Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation, and most omega-6 fatty acids tend to promote inflammation. The typical American diet tends to contain 14 – 25 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids, which many nutritionally oriented physicians consider to be way too high on the omega-6 side.

The Mediterranean diet, on the other hand, has a healthier balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Many studies have shown that people who follow this diet are less likely to develop heart disease. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, including whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, olive oil, garlic, as well as moderate wine consumption.


Clinical evidence is strongest for heart disease and problems that contribute to heart disease, but omega-3 fatty acids may also be used for:

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Vitamin D: How Much is Enough

From Harvard Public Health Review:

While vitamin D?s role in strengthening bones is well established, its links to cancer and immune-system malfunctions have only recently emerged. At the Harvard School of Public Health, nutrition experts say large segments of the population don?t get enough vitamin D and are urging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to raise the daily recommended dose, from 400 international units to 800. For an update on what?s known so far about this important nutrient, the Harvard Public Health Review spoke with HSPH Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology Edward Giovannucci.

Q: What are the documented benefits of vitamin D?

A: Vitamin D?s best-known role is in building strong bones. We?ve seen plenty of advertising urging people to take calcium to strengthen bones, but people also need to know that calcium can?t do the job well if they?re low on vitamin D. The two micronutrients work

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