If there’s no love, what then?
― Leonardo da Vinci
Are researchers of the Oxford University right when they claim that diet without meat causes brain to shrink? This study is often referred when one questions vegan diet being complete for one’s health.
How about such geniuses as Albert Einstein, who laid the foundation for the new gravitational theory that replaced famous classical newton physics , or Leonardo da Vinci, engineer, physician, scientist, architect, philosopher, artist, universal human, who excluded animals from their diets.
List of word famous scientists and scholars who did not eat animals is extensive.
I decided not to get lazy and found original publication of that Oxford study in the scientific journal. The study is called “Vitamin B12 and cognition of the elderly.” This paper study a correlation between low plasma total vitamin B12 and cognitive deficit as well as white matter damage in the elderly. Scientists refer to different studies, conducted in developed countries, focused on people older than 65 years old. For example, the Oxford study examined 1648 people of community-dwelling elderly (≥65 y) in Oxford.
The study does examine groups divided by its diet (vegan and non vegan).
Scientists found out that often not the low level of vitamin B12 itself , but higher than normal level of methylmalonic acid (MMA) or a low level of transcobalamin (TCN1) are associated with cognitive decline.
Article contains a number of assumptions of the possibility of already present brain damages being the cause of low plasma total B12 levels and not the other way around.
Since both MMA and TCN1 use vitamin B12, both are markers of B12 level. If B12 level is low, different mechanisms can influence cognitive function, scientists concluded that is important to raise vitamin B12 level for prevention of dementia in the elderly.
That paper does not mention even briefly veganism or vegetarianism.
Plants do not contain vitamin B12. It is generated by bacteria (not plants, not animals, not the human body). In the past people did not live in such hygienic world and received B12 together with plants pulled right from the garden with a little dirt and soil. In the animals B12 is being mainly accumulated by liver and kidneys. Bacteria produces B12 mostly in the colon but is being absorbed in the small intestine. In cows and other ruminants bacterial can produce B12 in the stomach.
Apparently this free interpretation of the Oxford study was based on the fact that plant based diet does not contain vitamin B12, therefore it t facilitates cognitive deficit.
Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) (and its vegan version) is very easy to get. It was first synthesized in 1949.
I don’t push my luck and take vegan B12. I also check up my B12 level annually, when I go for a blood test. I also use vegan toothpaste fortified with B12.
There are a lot of B12 fortified products, as its deficiency is a serious problem for our modern sterile society, especially for elders.
In our times dementia or Alzheimers that were examined in the Oxford study, turned into epidemic in the developed countries (more than 1% of all population or 10% of population older than 65 suffer from this disease). Projections about growth rate are worrisome, in United States dementia is the 6th cause of death. Maybe this is why scientists are working so much to find out the answer to the question of what causes cognitive deficit and how to prevent it.
Is there a connection between dementia and diet?
Doctor Greger has collected and analyzed some of these studies. To make it brief, here are the 2 main conclusions:
- Direct correlation between fat consumption (first of all, saturated fat) and level of the disease. Main sources of saturated fat are meat based products. Diet rich in meat based products make the disease flourish.
- A reverse correlation between diet high with whole food plant based products and level of the disease.
Plant based diet also helps to halt progression of the desease. The more plant based products are in one’s diet are resulting into the lower dementia risk.
Happy to share the links if you like to learn more for those about the studies.
Genius Leonardo da Vinci was ahead of his time, including subjects of medicine and nutrition.
The time will come when men will look upon the murder of animals as they look
upon the murder of man.
Recipe for this post was shared by our reader Tatiana Semko. It is is very delicate and nutritious. Helpful for effective brain activities. Exactly what Dr. Greger has prescribed.
Pumpkin hummus recipe.
- Pumpkin – 100g (3.5 oz)
- Garbanzo beans – 100g (3.5 oz)Preven
- Sesame seeds – 1 tsp
- Juice of one lemon
- Garlic clove – 1
- Cumin seeds – 1/4 tsp
- Coriander seeds – 1/4 tsp
- Black pepper
- Peel the skin and scoop the seeds and strings from the insides of the pumpkin. Cut into medium size pieces and cook for 10-15 min in boiling water or steam.
- Cook garbanzo beans. Option to soak garbanzos overnight before cooking, drain water. Add cold water, bring it to a boil and cook for one hour on a slow heat covered with lid.
- Blend or ground together black pepper, sesame, cumin, coriander seeds into a fine powder.
- Place all ingredients together into a blender, add lemon juice and blend into a soft,
delicate, homogeneous hummus.