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Jenny Logan.
Jenny Logan.

A few weeks ago I asked people on our Facebook page what part of the ageing process worried them the most. I expected answers like wrinkles, joint problems and reduced energy, instead most people said that they worried about their brain and memory.

I suppose we all expect that our skin will show our age and our joints will hurt, therefore the real fear must be of losing ourselves, if our memory or brain should start to fail.

So this week I am starting to take a look at the best natural remedies available to boost brain function and performance and hopefully reduce the risk of issues like dementia or Alzheimer’s.

One very simple thing that can be done is to take a daily dose of B vitamins but not just a low dose product – many supermarkets sell B vitamins, but they will only contain levels of around 2-5mg of each B vitamin.

What is needed is 50-100mg of each B vitamin.

Taking this sort of dose daily could actually halve the risk of developing memory problems in old age, according to a study carried out by Oxford University in 2010.

One in six people over the age of 70 will develop issues with memory – not necessarily to a level which really affects their daily lives – however half of this number will go on to develop more serious issues like Alzheimer’s.

So in 2010 a group of scientists in Oxford carried out a study to see if this could be prevented.

They took a group of 168 volunteers over the age of 70 and split the group in half. Half of the group were give a high dose of B vitamins, the other half were given a dummy pill.

This was done over a period of two years and over that time the participants were tested on their memory and were given brain scans to check for ‘brain shrinkage’.

What they discovered was that the group who had taken the B vitamins suffered significantly less brain shrinkage over the two years than the group who were taking the dummy pills.

The group on the B vitamins also scored higher on the memory tests.

All of this suggests that high dose B vitamins are really important in helping to slow down brain and memory losses and therefore should also help to prevent issues like dementia and Alzheimer’s occurring.

It has even been suggested by the people who carried out the study that those who have already been diagnosed could benefit from using this simple vitamin supplement, as it may slow down the progress of the disease.