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How Folic Acid May Help Improve Memory in Seniors

How Folic Acid May Help Improve Memory in Seniors

How Folic Acid May Help Improve Memory in Seniors

A healthy diet is crucial for the optimal cognitive functioning of older adults. Adequate levels of vitamins and minerals are key factors in preventing brain disease, like Alzheimer’s. Folic acid is linked with an improvement in seniors’ mental functioning, including memory.

What is folic acid and its benefits?

Folic acid, a water-soluble B vitamin, is a synthetic form of folate. This vitamin helps the body create new cells. Folic acid’s cell regeneration role has long been researched for its ability to promote the well-being of adults, especially pregnant females.

Recently, however, the benefits of folic acid in adults have been uncovered. Folic acid protects against some cancers, builds muscle mass, creates hemoglobin, and prevents heart disorders and stroke. The vitamin can also ease the impact of some mental and emotional disorders.

One of the major benefits of folic acid in elderly individuals is its ability to slow the progress of age-related memory and cognitive decline. In seniors diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, however, folic acid supplements have not been shown to improve symptoms.

In fact, reviews of controlled trials show mixed results about the benefits of folic acid supplements in seniors with mild to moderate cognitive decline or dementia. Active research in this area is still ongoing. Seniors are encouraged to discuss the benefits of folic acid with their doctors.

Do sufficient levels of folate improve memory?

Poor cognitive performance is linked with low folate blood levels. Seniors who take folic acid supplements can improve cognitive functioning. Blood levels of folate are typically low or normal in the general population. In people with normal blood levels, folic acid does not show to be helpful.

The results of research on the impact of folic acid on several hundred seniors are encouraging. Specifically, the seniors who took folic acid supplements showed memory improvement. This group also displayed a slower rate of decline in other mental skills and muscle speed skills.

Upon reviewing the outcomes of the three-year research period, the group of seniors who took the folic acid supplements had memory capabilities of someone five-and-a-half years younger. Muscle skills and information processing tests were equal to someone two years younger.

As previously mentioned, low levels of folate are associated with certain aspects of cognitive functioning, such as the abilities to recall and recognize. Low folate levels are also linked with all forms of dementia, including vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

In contrast, consuming the daily recommended dose of folic acid is a protective factor against Alzheimer’s disease and significantly reduces the risk of developing the brain condition. Research also suggests that inadequate amounts of folic acid increase the risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

How do seniors get a daily dose of folic acid?

Since folic acid deficiency is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, it is important that seniors get the daily recommended dose of the vitamin. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), recommends seniors consume 400 micrograms of folic acid each day.

Folate is naturally found in a variety of foods. However, folic acid, which is added to foods and supplements, is better absorbed by the body. A wide range of foods, from fruits to vegetables and seafood, are good sources of folate.

Specifically, seniors can consume dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, asparagus, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts, and receive adequate amounts of folate. Beans are also a good source of the vitamin. Nuts, like peanuts, and sunflower seeds offer ample amounts of folate.

Older adults will also receive a healthy dose of folate from eating fresh fruits, whole grains, liver, seafood, and eggs. Seniors are advised to eat produce in a variety of colors to maximize the overall nutritional benefits. Drinking fruit juices delivers folate, too.

Since 1998, the FDA required food manufacturers to add folic acid to commonly eaten foods. Fortified foods that contain folic acid include breads, cereals, grain products, rice, and pasta. Since the implementation of the FDAs program, folic acid intake has increased by 100 mcg per day.

Taking supplements increases folate blood levels. Health experts recommend taking folic acid supplements that are available as a dose of 400 micrograms. The lower range is advisable, since seniors will consume foods that are fortified with folic acid as well as foods naturally containing folate.

Should seniors consult with a doctor first?

There is no evidence that folic acid supplements cause harm. Rather, taking these supplements can prevent some diseases, especially among seniors who do not get enough of this B vitamin in their diets. Before starting a folic acid supplement regimen, it is important to consult with a doctor.

A consultation with a doctor is advised since high doses of folic acid can interact with some medications, like those used to treat seizures. Seniors who regularly take prescription medications should receive clearance from their physician prior to taking folic acid supplements.

Dementia Care Libertyville Illinois

Folic acid is a vitamin that can help improve memory function in seniors. Older adults may need support to ensure they receive enough folate in their daily diets or correctly take folic acid supplements. Professional caregivers from Assisting Hands Home Care can offer invaluable support.

Caregivers from our reputable home care agency shop for fresh foods that contain abundant amounts of folate. We also prepare nutritious meals to ensure that care recipients are well nourished and receive the necessary doses of essential vitamins and minerals.

Our home care services are comprehensive and include other non-medical support services, such as transportation to doctors’ offices or social events, light housekeeping, assistance with personal hygiene tasks and companionship. We also perform in-home fall risk assessments to prevent injuries.

Assisting Hands Home Care offers compassionate in-home memory care services, too. Our dementia caregivers are trained to identify dementia symptoms, such as aggressiveness or confusion, and gently calm the senior. We support seniors who wander, suffer from incontinence and experience forgetfulness.

When you seek a reliable home care agency with a reputation for excellence, choose Assisting Hands Home Care. We offer a range of flexible care options, including quality dementia care, to seniors living in Deerfield, Green Oaks, Lake Zurich, Lake Forest, Lincolnshire, Vernon Hills, Highland Park, Libertyville, Round Lake Beach, Illinois, and surrounding areas. Call us at (224) 268-9068 to schedule an in-home consultation and start non-medical home health care today.