Do we really have to give up bits of our cognitive functions to age? Apparently not. New research shows older adults with higher levels of certain nutrients in their blood performed better on measures of thinking abilities, and their brains had larger volumes.
“For people with a vitamin profile high in B, C, D, E, those particular nutrients seem to be working together on some level,” said lead study author Gene Bowman, an assistant professor in the department of neurology at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. “Having high scores for those vitamins was associated with better cognitive function and larger brain volume.”
Specifically, people with more of those nutrients performed better on tests of executive function and attention, and had better visuospatial skills and global cognitive function. They also had bigger brains.
Meanwhile, Omega-3 fatty acids were associated with better executive function and with fewer changes to the white matter of the brain.
“Executive function” is a term used to describe higher level thinking involving planning, attention and problem solving.
Conversely, those with high levels of trans fats in their blood not only performed worse on the cognitive tests, their brains were generally smaller. We all tend to lose a certain amount of brain size as we get older. But the more your brain shrinks, the more cognitive decline you’ll see.