Avoiding and Combatting Alzheimer’s with Non-prescription Supplements

In our first article on the subject, Is Alzheimer’s Reversible?, we reported on Dr. Bredesen’s non-prescription drug protocols. Here are the recommendations for supplements based upon the results of the studies his group conducted. In addition, we are including recommendations of the non-profit Alzheimer’s Organization for supplements to maintain brain health, minimize the damage caused by Alzheimer’s , and reduce the risk of contracting Alzheimer’s:

Dr. Bredesen’s recommended supplements1:

Take folate, vitamin B-6 and vitamin B-12. “These three nutrients can reduce blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine, which is linked to an increase in tau, increased age-¬related shrinkage of the hippocampus and double the risk for Alzheimer’s disease. However: To work, these supplements must undergo a biochemical process called methylation—and many older people don’t “methylate” well, rendering the supplements nearly useless. To avoid the problem, take a form of the supplements that already is methylated (or activated)—folate as L-methylfolate, B-6 as pyridoxal-5-phosphate and B-12 as methylcobalamin.”

Take other targeted supplements. “Along with the three B vitamins, there are many other supplements that target synaptoblastic and synaptoclastic factors. Check with your doctor about the right dosages. The supplements include vitamin D-3 (low levels double the risk for Alzheimer’s)…vitamin K-2…vitamin E (as mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols)…the minerals selenium, magnesium and zinc (zinc, for example, lowers copper, which is linked to Alzheimer’s)…DHA and EPA (anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids)…coenzyme Q10, N-acetyl-cysteine, alpha-lipoic acid (they nourish mitochondria, energy-generating structures within cells)…and probiotics (they improve the microbiome, helping to strengthen the lining of the gut, reducing body-wide inflammation). Also, certain herbs can be helpful. These include curcumin (1 gram per day), ashwagandha (500 mg once or twice per day) and bacopa monnieri (200 mg to 300 mg per day). These have multiple effects, such as reducing inflammation and amyloid-beta peptide and enhancing neurotransmission.”

Recommended by the Alzheimer’s Organization2:

“B Vitamins(B3, B6, B12, & Folic Acid):

Function: Vitamin B12 helps maintain the Myelin sheath, the covering and insulating layer of nerve cells. The myelin sheath allows for transmissions to flow smoothly from one part of the brain to the other. In Alzheimer’s and dementia the myelin sheath is damaged. This results in a multitude of mental difficulties ranging from inability to form new memories to difficulty communicating.

Vitamin B6 helps the body produce neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are what nerves in the brain use to communicate with each other. Vitamin B3 helps cells, including neurons of the brain, to repair themselves.

Evidence: Researchers at the University of Oxford conducted a randomized study on 156 individuals suffering from mild dementia. One group was assigned to take B6, B12, and Folic Acid, while the other group was assigned a placebo. After 24 months, MRIs were taken of the participant’s brains and compared. Researchers noted that the group which did not take the B vitamins had significantly greater loss of brain tissue when compared to the group which did take B6, B12, And Folic Acid.

Vitamin D:

Overview & Evidence: Vitamin D stimulates nerve growth within the brain, also having anti-inflammatory properties. Vitamin D is one of the nutrients which our body has difficulty producing as we age, especially at ages above 50, estimates place the percentage of seniors deficient at 95%. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that the FDA dramatically miscalculated the daily required amount of Vitamin D needed.

Multiple studies have shown a “clear link” between a vitamin D deficiency and an increased risk for Alzheimer’s. One study found that those moderately deficient were more than 50% likely to develop Alzheimer’s or dementia and those severely deficient were more than 125% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Salvia Oficinalis:

Function: Better known by its common name, sage, Salvia Oficinalis has been shown to inhibit an enzyme which destroys the brain’s chemical messengers.

Evidence: A study conducted at the Newcastle and Northumbria Universities in England recently showed that individuals consuming Salvia Oficinalis pills performed better on word recall tests than individuals whom took a placebo.

Phosphatidylserine:

Function: Phospatidylserine protects the outer lining of brain cells( the lipid membrane ) from Alzheimer’s related dementia. Those treated with Phosphatidylserine improved on several cognitive measures relative to those administered with the placebo.

Bocopa Moniera:

Function: Bocopa Moniera inhibits an enzyme responsible for the destruction of the brain’s chemical messengers. Additionally, it enhances the transmission of signals between nerve cells in the brain.

Evidence: In a 90 day double blind placebo- controlled study, it found that participants taking Bocopa Moniera twice a day performed significantly better on cognitive evaluations than those whom did not.

Vitamin E:

Function: Vitamin E is an antioxidant which protects the brain’s cell membranes and cell structure from harmful free radicals.

Evidence: In a United States trial, 613 individuals with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease were assigned to take either a vitamin E supplement or a placebo. At the end of the 24 month study, researchers found that individuals taking vitamin E showed a slower decline and were able to complete everyday tasks that individuals in the other group were unable to

Recommendation (by the Alzheimer’s Organization)

:
We highly recommend each individual over 50 takes a neuro-protective supplement.”

One final herbal remedy for Alzheimer’s: Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)

In a 4-month, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 42 people with Alzheimer’s disease, use of an oral lemon balm extract significantly decreased their tendency to become agitated.
In another study, lemon balm essential oil applied to the skin in the form of a cream also reduced agitation in 71 people with Alzheimer’s disease.3

Footnotes:

  1. Alzheimer’s Symptoms Reversed, interview by Bottom Line. Inc. published online January 15, 2015.
    Full article at http://bottomlineinc.com/health/alzheimers/alzheimers-symptoms-reversed
  2. Nutrients and Supplement Information, https://www.alzheimersorganization.org/vitamins
  3. Lemon Balm, https://www.consumerlab.com/tnp.asp?chunkiid=21798

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