Can a New Memory Pill Save Your Brain?

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Good housekeeping
Aging affects every part of our body - and the brain is no exception. As you get older, staying focused, juggling multiple projects, learning new things, remembering names, or where you left your keys can become more difficult. Changes like this are normal, but the Alzheimer's Association estimates that up to 20% of adults over 65 have more memory loss and cognitive decline, which is known as mild cognitive impairment.
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"For most people, memory-related brain regions shrink 1% to 2% a year after they turn 50," said William DS Killgore, Ph.D., the lead author of a Harvard study that found a link between training and the amount of brain tissue that adults have in zones that are involved in memory. Another report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that the gray matter of the human frontal lobe (responsible for problem solving, memory, language, and more) increased by about 14% between the ages of 30 and 80, and the gray matter of the hippocampus shrinks (key to storing long-term memories) shrinks by about 13% in the same period.
It is therefore not surprising that some scientists and researchers are obsessed with unraveling the secret of combating brain shrinkage or atrophy, which is generally considered to be an essential factor in age-related memory loss, cognitive decline and the possible progression of Alzheimer's disease. Can a specially formulated supplement help?
What research reveals
Over 10 years ago, a group of scientists at Oxford University, led by then professor of pharmacology A. David Smith, Ph.D., set out to study the effects of a specific, high-dose blend of three B vitamins (B6, B12 and Folic acid) may have memory function and brain shrinkage rate in people over 70 with mild cognitive impairment.
The two-year, randomized, placebo-controlled study was called VITACOG and was one of four large studies conducted by the Oxford Memory and Aging Study from 1988 to 2015. "The theory that nutritional factors were an important part. To prevent brain atrophy, we started the VITACOG study to find out if we can slow brain atrophy by combining homocysteine ​​[an amino acid that the body produces] with B vitamin Lowering treatment, ”says Smith, now emeritus professor of pharmacology at Oxford University. In high concentrations, homocysteine ​​is associated with greater brain atrophy and low concentrations of vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid.
After two years, the study showed that the high-dose B-vitamin mixture slowed brain atrophy rates associated with memory loss with aging by up to 30%. "The results were remarkably more positive than we could have dreamed of," says Smith. They also found that these benefits depended on the presence of omega-3 fatty acids.
New innovations
These results have led to the development of a new brain health supplement called Matter that starts at $ 40 a month and is now available to pre-order. Matter was developed by Elysium Health, a life science company recognized by Good Housekeeping for innovation in the wellness industry and in collaboration with the University of Oxford. It contains the same high-dose blend of B vitamins that was used during the VITACOG study. "Matter is the first brain health product to be backed by rigorous human testing done by Oxford University researchers," said Leonard Guarente, Ph.D., chief scientist and director of the Glenn Center for Aging Research at Elysium Health MIT. "As a scientist, I believe there is no other brain health product that meets the rigorous human tests that matter is based on."
"Even for healthy people, age-related brain atrophy and the associated cognitive decline is a reality that we all have to face," said Eric Marcotulli, CEO of Elysium Health. "What I love about the products that Elysium Health develops is that targeted aging processes such as brain atrophy enable people to regain some control and make their health more proactive."
If you have any questions about how this B-vitamin complex works in people under 70 without cognitive impairment, Guarente adds: “In the broader population, the B-vitamin complex supports the normal brain structure and function in adults of all ages. “It is worth noting that a recent meta-analysis of the data suggests that taking vitamin B supplements is not an essential factor in preventing cognitive decline in healthy, cognitively unaffected adults. However, the results also showed no evidence that vitamin B supplementation affects cognitive function and confirmed that “the relationship between vitamin B, homocysteine ​​and cognition is a much studied and promising area and will be of high quality in future studies should be examined ”.
In addition to the B-vitamin complex, matter contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are generally believed to play an important role in supporting normal brain, heart, eye, and joint function. The company says their unique powder formulation is 3-5 times more bioavailable than standard omega-3 fish oils. In addition, anyone who uses the product will not experience the dreaded "fish-like burp" that often occurs when taking fish oils. Because 8 out of 10 adults don't meet the two servings of fish a week recommended in the American Nutrition Guidelines, Matter can also help achieve the recommended omega-3 levels for general health. The last ingredient is an anthocyanin-rich blueberry extract, which according to Elysium offers additional complementary cognitive benefits.
"Matter combines two classes of nutrients that individually support a healthy brain: B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids," says Smith, who also joined the Elysium Health Scientific Advisory Board. “It is important that these two types of nutrients work together to increase the beneficial effects of the others. The combination is a safe and novel way to slow brain atrophy. "
Visit for more information on matter, including options to buy. Exclusive for Good Housekeeping readers: Receive 15% of the semi-annual and annual subscriptions with the code EHPERKS.
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