Just one bowl of cereal a day could increase risk of DEMENTIA – as research links cognitive decline to vitamin, including in rice and oatmeal

  • Research shows that too little or too much thiamine is associated with cognitive decline
  • Thiamine can be found in common cereal brands such as Kellogg’s and General Mills
  • READ MORE: Health warning about vitamin added to cereals and bread

While enjoying your favorite cereal may bring back memories of watching cartoons in the morning over a bowl, enjoying your childhood breakfast may actually increase the risk of dementia.

a study published in the journal General Psychiatry found a link between thiamine, which is commonly found in grains, and cognitive decline in otherwise healthy people as they age.

Thiamine, or vitamin B1, occurs naturally in some foods, while it is added to others and sold as a supplement. It helps convert food into energy and fuel the body’s nervous system.

Sources of the vitamin include whole grains, legumes, liver, salmon and fortified breakfast cereals. In the US, thiamine can be found in common cereal brands such as Kellogg’s and General Mills.

However, research has now shown a strong link between too little and too much thiamine consumption and cognitive decline.

According to the study, the sweet spot of how much thiamine should be consumed is 0.68 mg per day, which calls into question the U.S. government’s recommended daily value of the vitamin.

Sources of thiamin include whole grains, legumes, liver, salmon and fortified breakfast cereals.

Researchers said: ‘A deficiency of thiamine can lead to insufficient energy supply to the brain’s neurons… which can impair cognitive function… our study highlights the importance of maintaining optimal dietary thiamine intake in general older population to prevent cognitive decline.’

The study looked at data from the China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS), which included 3,100 people who reported on their diet and took cognitive tests four times between 1997 and 2006.

The average age of a subject was 63 and the tests included word recall and number pattern challenges.

Over the course of follow-ups, researchers found a J-shaped curve association between thiamine consumption and a decline in cognitive test scores.

The J-shaped curve means that two little or too much thiamine can have adverse effects, but there is a sweet spot, or ideal amount, along the curve.

The average thiamine intake among the test subjects was 0.93 mg per day. The J-shaped curve showed that the ideal amount was 0.68 mg per day, but a range between 0.6 mg and 1.00 mg per day presented minimal risks.

However, every 1.0 mg per day above the safe limit of 0.68 mg was associated with a decrease of 4.24 points in the global cognitive score.

The Food and Drug Administration’s recommended daily allowance is 1.2 mg of thiamine per day for people four years and older, and the National Institutes of Health reports that just one serving of a fortified breakfast cereal contains 1.2 mg of thiamine.

The associations that researchers observed were stronger in people who were obese, had high blood pressure or did not smoke.

The global cognitive score ranges from zero to 27, meaning that a decrease of about four points represents a decline in cognitive function of at least 15 percent.

A separate study on the health effects of another B vitamin – niacin or vitamin B3 – found it was linked to heart attacks, strokes and heart disease.

Like thiamin, niacin is also found in breakfast cereals and ‘enriched’ or ‘enriched’ products.

The researchers emphasized that more research needs to be done on this topic because thiamine has numerous health benefits, including boosting the immune system, controlling diabetes, aiding digestion, promoting heart health and increasing of the energy.