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Review of Homocysteine

Wednesday, 08 March 2017 by | Comments: 1

homocysteine_fig_1By Antony Haynes BA,  Registered Nutritional Therapist

The word ‘homocysteine’ has entered the lexicon of familiar words over the past decade, at least for health practitioners, as has the term methylation, and the two are intimately connected.

What is Methylation?

Methylation denotes the addition of a methyl group on a substrate, or the substitution of an atom (or group) by a methyl group. Methylation is a form of alkylation, with a methyl group, rather than a larger carbon chain, replacing a hydrogen atom. Methylation is catalysed by enzymes.

B Vitamins Slow Brain Shrinkage

Tuesday, 14 September 2010 by

The rate of whole brain atrophy was significantly less in the vitamin B complex treated group. The figure above courtesy of Plos One shows the brain of one female participant on placebo (left) and one female participant on vitamin B complex on the right. Blue areas indicate areas of brain atrophy. Rates of atrophy were .76% per year in the vitamin B group and 1.08% in the placebo group--a highly statistically significant reduction (p value<.001).

There is a growing awareness that brain atrophy is a miserable consequence of aging and when combined with loss of mental function it makes for a very unattractive outcome. The paper out in September 2010 from the research team at Oxford showed that moderate doses of the supplement containing B Vitamins: Folic acid (0.8 mg/d), vitamin B12 (0.5 mg/d) and vitamin B6 (20 mg/d) over 2 years could halve the rate of brain shrinkage – a physical symptom associated memory loss and dementia in the elderly.[1]

At the end of the trial the effects of the vitamin treatment were found to be dramatic, and most pronounced in participants who started out with the highest rates of brain shrinkage.

On average, taking B vitamins slowed the rate of brain atrophy by 30%, and in many cases reductions was as high as 53% were seen.

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B Vitamins Beat Depression

Wednesday, 18 August 2010 by

This month’s (August) American Journal of Clinical Nutrition presents a longitudinal study supporting the use of B vitamins in the management of mental health.

In Nutritional Therapy practice when we are faced with patients who seem to be struggling with depression and are finding recovery hard as well as trying to prevent recurrence after resolving their current symptoms we often think – B Vitamins

But what is the evidence for this apparently normal recommendation – is there anything of substance that supports the therapeutic use of these water soluble vitamins.

To date most studies have been conducted using a cross sectional approach[1],[2] (a class of research methods that involve observation of some subset of a population of items all at the same time, in which, groups can be compared at different ages with respect of independent variables) rather than the preferred prospective style investigations (an analytic study designed to determine the relationship between a condition and a characteristic shared by some members of a group). A prospective study may involve many variables or only two; it may seek to demonstrate a relationship that is an association or one that is causal. Prospective studies produce a direct measure of risk called the relative risk.

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