Doctors at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago are finally catching on about how to properly perform brain health supplement research. For decades the studies have been set up with little or no regard to the principles of nutrition.
They decided to critically review the literature on antioxidants and brain health, dietary fats and brain health, and B vitamins and brain health. According to the scientists, the evidence is fairly strong for the following nutrients to have protective roles in brain function:
• vitamin E
• DHA, an omega 3 fat
• vitamin B12
But here’s the amazing paradigm shift that occurred in the doctors’ thinking that is almost breathtaking: They said that the studies cannot be interpreted correctly unless you pay attention to nutrient intake from the diet. They noted that the epidemiological studies were using volunteers with low and adequate nutrient levels.
This is faulty design for a research study on brain health because people cannot become super-charged in any way if their nutrient levels are adequate and they take brain health supplements. It’s as if there’s a ceiling in humans for what gains can be expected in the body.
The Rush University researchers also found that very few of the randomized clinical trials followed good scientific protocol and used brain health supplements on those who had a deficiency.
So if there’s a ceiling where you won’t get any more good effects, and you include people in the study who are at that ceiling level, you can’t expect any good effects to occur. But the researchers included these people in their studies and then reported that the brain supplements did not work.
Do you see why you cannot believe that brain supplements do not work?
The researchers concluded that these brain supplement (and other nutrition) studies need to be more focused on the status of the individual before making such conclusions.
Hooray! They are finally “getting” it. Let’s hope that these scientists will attend conferences and spread the word so the nutrition research industry can be cleaned up and provide consumers with the truth: if you have a deficiency of a nutrient, including ones for brain health, and you take supplements, you will get benefits.