Good brain health slows dementia risk

By Nicholas Robinson

- Last updated on GMT

Micronutrients power the brain
Micronutrients power the brain

Related tags Nutrition

Neuronal health must be maintained for as long as possible if the onset of dementia is to be delayed, argues ingredients firm DSM.

More than 35M people suffer from dementia worldwide, a number that is expected to quadruple by 2050, said DSM.

A new study by the company, which has been published in the journal Nutrition​, indicated that malnourishment was one of the contributing factors to dementia-causing pathological events in the brain.

Micronutrients played a vital metabolic role in supporting the normal functioning of the brain, it added.

‘Essential roles’

“A variety of vitamins and polyunsaturated fatty acids have been identified as having essential roles in the metabolism of vital components of a healthy brain and contribute to a myriad of processes,”​ said the study.

Energy production in the brain was also heavily dependent on vitamins and minerals including, vitamin C and A, which were essential co-factors in the metabolic processes responsible for releasing energy from carbohydrates.

Dr Hansan Mohajeri, research and development human nutrition and health at DSM Nutritional Products, said: “The brain has exceptionally high metabolic activity and uses a large proportion of the body’s total nutrient and energy intake, making the brain susceptible to any shortage of nutrients.”

DSM’s research has followed a recent study published in the journal Neurology, which showed a strong link between low levels of vitamin D and the risk of developing dementia later in life.

Dementia before 65

Meanwhile, more than twice as many people in the UK have dementia before the age of 65 than was previously thought, new statistics have shown.

The figures, which will be published this Wednesday (September 10), were compiled by the Alzheimer’s Society, the London School of Economics and King’s College Institute of Psychiatry.

The new figures claim more than 42,000 people below the age of 65 suffer from dementia, compared to a previous estimate of 17,000.

It is also thought thousands of people in their 40s suffer from dementia, while there are more than 700 cases in their 30s, according to the figures.

Dementia is slightly more common in men than in women and it is the most feared condition among those aged 55 and over, according to the figures.

Dementia in the UK

  • 42,325 cases of early-onset dementia
  • 21,519 cases are in men
  • 20,806 cases are in women
  • 32,000 cases involve those aged 60 to 65
  • 7,700 cases involve those in their 50s
  • 2,010 cases among 40 year-olds
  • 707 cases among 30 year-olds

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