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High intake of the vitamin niacin, particularly from food sources, may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and age-related mental decline, according to a new study.

The study, published in the August 2004 edition of the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, points out that severe niacin deficiency is known to cause dementia. However, the researchers note that it is unclear if more subtle variations I niacin intake influence the risk of mental deterioration.

While the niacin-Alzheimer’s link came as news to some in the medical community, the relationship between brain health and B vitamins has been known by nutritionists for some time.

”The brain needs a steady supply of virtually every major nutrient. Diets deficient in these nutrients, especially B vitamins which include niacin, will lead to mental symptoms,” says Dr. Cass Ingram, author of How to Eat Right and Live Longer, and an authority on natural remedies.

Dr. Ingram also suspects a link between sugar consumption and Alzheimer’s because sugar destroys B vitamins ad depletes mineral stores. By way of illustration, he points to the beloved and recently deceased President Ronald Reagan and his jellybean habit. “Those who are at the most risk are known for ‘always eating their desserts,’ says Dr. Ingram.

As a preventative Dr. Ingram recommends cutting sugar, and even sugar substitutes, from one’s diet. In addition he says, “Think outside the box’ pointing out that coffee creamer does not have the same amount of nutrition as whole milk. He also recommends ensuring adequate intake of foods rich in B vitamins, like rice bran, yogurt, eggs, and beef. Seeds and nuts should also be highlighted because of their essential fatty acids and the role they play in normal brain function.

Like most other degenerative diseases, Alzheimer’s disease can be linked to an improper diet,” says Dr. Ingram. “One should take charge, become educated, and change their diet for the sake of their own longevity.”

For more information about brain health and the natural remedies found in Dr. Ingram’s book, “How to Eat Right and Live Longer”, call 1(800) 243-5242 or visit

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