ASK AN EXPERT
Answers About Alzheimer’s, Part 2
By THE NEW YORK TIMES
Published: November 16, 2012
Q. “..the risk of getting (Alzheimer’s) was 3.3 times greater among people whose blood folic acid levels were in the lowest one-third range and 4.5 times greater when blood homocysteine levels were in the highest one-third”. Clarke et. al. Arch. Neurol. 55 (1998): 1449-1455. Folic acid is derived exclusively from plant-based foods like green and leafy vegetables. Homocysteine is derived primarily from animal protein. Does this make sense? Where people are primarily plant food eaters, the incidence of dementia and Alzheimer’s is very low to virtually none. Why isn’t this critical information more widely distributed to patients by the medical community? No drugs involved. Food Inc. doesn’t make a bundle on green and leafy vegetables, but it sure does on animal protein dairy, eggs, processed meats, on and on. Even the heavy emphasis on grains and potatoes displaces green and leafy vegetables in the diet. – Jerry A., Hollis, N.H.
A. You make a good case (I must say I am biased being a vegetarian mostly). Animal studies show a link between saturated fats and brain amyloid plaque buildup. And with a vegetarian diet, there is no risk of mad cow disease. Vegetarians have to make sure they get plenty of vitamin B12. Clinical trials of folate and B vitamins have not been that successful once someone has already been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, but maybe it’s too late by then.
November 16, 2012