Dr. Norm Dawson
Dementia And Mortality Associated With Low Folate Levels
Updated: May 13, 2022
I have several relatives and friends who have or have died from Alzheimer’s, a form of dementia. The risk of acquisition rises from around age 50 to age 75 a thousand times. Without intervention dementia is expected to triple in the next 30 years.
Hearing loss is the highest of 12 modifiable risks for dementia. Adequate proper consistent nutrition of the correct ingredients is also important.
In a recent study from the British Medical Journal it was shown that there was an association of folic acid, a folate or sometimes called Vitamin B9 to dementia or cognitive function.
According to the authors of the latest study, “Evidence suggests that serum folate deficiency increases the likelihood of deficits in cognitive performance and neurological functioning.”
Blood folate levels diminish with age.
Folate deficiency impairs cognitive function and nerve signaling in the brain, potentially elevating risks of dementia and death.
Researchers found that low serum folate levels may increase the risk of dementia by 68%.
They also found that older adults with folate deficiency face nearly three times the risk of death from any cause.
Serum folate concentrations may be a useful biomarker for dementia and mortality, but experts cannot rule out reverse causality.
They also found that serum folate deficiency does correlate with both dementia risk and all-cause mortality.
My daughter was born with a soft cleft palate, a mid line defect. You may be already aware that folic acid deficiency can cause mid-line defects and spina bifida during gestation.
In 1998, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration required that folic acid be added to enriched grain products (such as bread, pasta, rice, and cereal) because of the prevalence of birth defects from the lack of this nutrient during fetal development.
Folate is found mainly in dark green leafy vegetables, beans, peas and nuts. Fruits rich in folate include oranges, lemons, bananas, melons and strawberries. The synthetic form of folate is folic acid. It's in an essential component of prenatal vitamins.
We may not get enough bioavailable nutrients from our foods for a variety of reasons. Since folate does not stay in the body long we must continue to eat more healthy foods and supplement with a high quality supplement of approximately 1000 mcg daily. As, usual, always talk to your doctor about any changes in your diet. And your doctor can check your blood and determine your folate level.
Dementia/Alzheimer’s risk can be reduced significantly with minimal effort that I outline in my educational talk. Folate is just one small way to reduce the overall risk.
Contact me for information on supplements I would recommend and schedule me for a talk to your group.