Omega-3s and B Vitamins Partner to Promote Brain Health

head-puzzleMore than half of all Americans take vitamins on a regular basis, among them B vitamins such as B6 and B12. Along with many other health benefits, B vitamins have been shown to support brain health as we age, and a new study finds that getting enough Omega-3s in the diet may actually help us reap the full benefits of our daily Bs when it comes to brain function and memory.

Drawing its data from the earlier Homocysteine and B Vitamins in Cognitive Impairment (or VITACOG) trial, which found that B vitamins helped reduce age-related decline in healthy brain function, the new study looked at whether Omega-3 fatty acid levels in the body had any effect on those benefits. Indeed, it seems they do.

The VITACOG participants received either a placebo or a daily combination of B6, B12, and folic acid. When researchers went back to look at the blood levels of Omega-3 EPA and DHA for each participant before and after the trial, they discovered that those who received the vitamin combination but had low levels of Omega-3s experienced little or no benefit. However, those with high levels of the EPA and DHA who also received the vitamins saw an average 40% reduction in brain tissue deterioration.

Results of the study, published last month in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, lead researchers to theorize that a diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acids may help people get the most out of their daily B vitamins—in particular the benefits of a healthy brain. Omega-3 EPA and DHA are typically derived from oily fish such as salmon, trout, and herring.

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Fiber: Your Questions Answered

greensYou may have noticed fiber has been in the news a lot lately, and with good reason! Studies have linked a diet high in fiber with everything from improved digestive health and regularity to successful weight management and cardiovascular health.‡

More recently, researchers have discovered that many high-fiber foods are prebiotics, meaning they help nourish and support the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.‡ This is important, since up to 80% of the immune system is found in the gut, so healthy balance of bacteria there (meaning more good and neutral than harmful bacteria) is important for optimal health.‡ Below are a couple of the questions we hear most often about fiber.

How Much Fiber Should I Be Getting in My Diet?
The American Academy of Dietetics recommends 20 to 35 grams of fiber each day to maintain good digestive and overall health.‡ Consuming more non-starchy vegetables and low-sugar fruits is the best way to increase your daily fiber intake, but if you’re still having a hard time reaching 35 grams a day, add a high-quality fiber supplement with a balanced ratio of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Flaxseed, oat fiber and acacia fiber are great options.

Can I Take Fiber Supplements During a Cleanse?
Fiber supplements can be taken while cleansing and between cleanses to support good health.‡ As far as how many fiber grams to supplement, look for a fiber product to provide anywhere from 3 to 5 grams of fiber per serving. Slowly incorporate your supplement into your cleansing routine, and be sure to increase water consumption too. You may want to also take your fiber supplement away from other supplements, including your cleansing components, by at least one hour.

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