Alzheimer's and DementiaDementia is almost a certainty if you live long enough. Statistics tell us that as many as 2/3 of the population over the age of 90 suffers from some form of dementia or depression. Alzheimer's disease is the leading cause of dementia in the elderly. There is no known cure for Alzheimer's and dementia. There are certain drugs on the market which offer some encouragement in that they slow the progression of the disease. Alternative medicine, a good healthy lifestyle and exercise also offer some benefit.
The medical approach to dementia should include an assessment of the aspects of life style somewhat unique to the elderly. Therefore, we should consider the following as possible contributory causes of dementia: oxidative stress, lack of exercise, poor diet, nutritional deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, and need for food supplements.
Seniors are notorious for getting little to no exercise. Yet, it has been established that they live longer, healthier and happier if they get regular exercise, even as little as a 20 minute walk a day.
Seniors are also known for their diet of tender roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, some Jello and green beans or corn with a cup of coffee or tea. This, of course, falls pathetically short of the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables, preferably raw, a day. This is where the oxidative stress enters the picture. Oxidative stress or the formation of free radical molecules in our bodies is a chemical process that leads to aging. The antidote for this oxidative process is consumption of "antioxidants". Antioxidants such as vitamins and certain minerals are nutrients found in food, especially fruits and vegetables.
Studies published in the June, 2002 issue of the "Journal of the American Medical Association" have shown certain antioxidant supplements to be of benefit in reducing the risk of Alzheimer's. The most commonly recommended is folic acid at a dosage of 2.5 to 10 mg. per day. The herb ginko biloba is also commonly used and is a good antioxidant for the brain and entire body. Other supplements including vitamins B12, C, E, zinc, beta-carotene and phosphatidyl choline are also beneficial.
Your approach to combating Alzheimer's and dementia involves three components:
A. Alteration of lifestyle as much as possible.
B. Good nutrition.
C. Dietary supplements.
NOTE: If you are dealing with a younger person with dementia, pay close attention to the related pages of this report which are listed below.
Since most dementia patients are elderly, there probably isn't too much we can do to realistically alter the lifestyle. However, there is one thing, albeit it controversial, that should be addressed. That is the matter of aluminum which has been shown in some studies to be a causative factor in Alzheimer's disease. The main sources of aluminum in our environment are cookware, cigarette filters, and antiperspirants. These sources of aluminum should definitely be eliminated from the environment. If there has been excessive exposure to aluminum in the patient's life, it would be a good idea to have a hair analysis for toxic metals. If high in aluminum or other toxic metals, you can follow protocols for their removal.
See Metal Toxicity
Another lifestyle problem for seniors is the lack of exercise. Please study carefully the Benefits of Exercising
The second concern for most senior citizens is good nutrition. The Center for Disease Control says we all should eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, preferably raw, a day. Very few of us do that, let alone seniors. An excellent dietary supplement which is comparable to the five servings is called Juice Plus . It is fruits and vegetables juiced, dried and condensed into a capsule. You may visit www.juiceplus.com for more information on Juice Plus. Fruits and vegetables are nature's source of antioxidants. Our antioxidant status deteriorates with age and the need is compounded in patents with Alzheimer's.
Your third concern is food supplements. The nutrients which have been found deficient and helpful in Alzheimer's and dementia are listed below.
Folic acid is a vitamin found commonly deficient in patients with a variety of psychiatric illnesses. Your physician can test your blood level. If deficient, a supplementation of 2-10 mg. daily or as directed by your physician or nutritionist should help.
Vitamin B6 is commonly deficient in Alzheimer's patients. There are little to no risks with B6 supplementation at a level of 100-200 mg. per day.
Vitamin B12 has been found to be helpful. You should have your physician measure the blood B12 and supplement, probably with injections or sublingual tablets accordingly.
Antioxidants including Vitamin E (d-alpha tocopherol) at 400-800 i.u. per day, Vitamin C at 1000-5000 mg. or bowel tolerance per day, and zinc have been shown to be of benefit .
Phosphatidyl choline or lecithin has been associated with Alzheimer's and dementia and supplementation may be of benefit. Choline is an important brain chemical and should be a part of every patient's supplement regimen. You should be careful to read the label because there is a great variation in the content of different products. The usual dose of phosphatidyl choline in the studies was 20-25 grams in divided doses per day.
Another promising supplement is glycerylphosphorylcholine (GPC) . GPC is a choline precursor which means it is involved in one of the steps of choline metabolism. It has been found to be effective in improving patients' clinical conditions in a number of studies. It is sold as a prescription drug in Europe but as a food supplement in the U.S.
In some studies estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) has been shown to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's in women. A natural approach to ERT without the risks of prescription estrogen replacement includes the use of the herb Black Cohosh, indole-3-carbinol extracted from broccoli and natural progesterone crème made from the wild yam. All these products should be taken under the direction of a clinical nutritionist.
Multigenics (Order without iron for men)
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
The September, 2002 issue of the "Life Extension" magazine published by the Life Extension Foundation www.lef.org offers a few articles on the subject of Alzheimer's and dementia. They also offer products containing these and other nutrients.
Comprehensive Health Assessment
Alzheimer's and Dementia Related Pages of this Web Site
Benefits of Exercising
Yeast and Candidiasis
Adrenal Axis Stress and Cortisol Imbalance
Wilson 's Syndrome