Vail Daily column: Alzheimer’s and supplements
Editor’s note: This is the second part of a two-part column on Alzheimer’s disease.
I would like to preface the following information by stating that supplements will not cure or keep Alzheimer’s disease from occurring. However, they may assist in mitigating the development of the disease.
In my last article, I presented quite a bit of information about Alzheimer’s, the various stages, how it develops, and some physiological information. I know it was dry and perhaps even a bit too technical. However, so that today’s article can help us better understand what opportunities exist to possibly curtail its development, I felt we should have an understanding of what researchers can tell us about its development.
If you did not read my previous article, please go online to the Vail Daily’s website and type in ‘Haims’ or ‘Visiting Angels’ into the search window and read, “Understanding Alzheimer’s.”
While no drug has been shown to be completely effective in the protection from Alzheimer’s disease, there is research that indicates that antioxidant supplements may play a preventive role.
Conceptually, there are two possible approaches to moderating Alzheimer’s affect. One approach is to consider what can be done to diminish the potential development of the disease and the other is to address its progression.
Our body is an amazing technical machine. The manner in which we care for it effects more than its performance for just today. How we feed and exercise our body truly effects how our body will perform in the future.
Consequently, by adjusting your diet, you can increase the health of not only your whole body but your brain, too. As I mentioned last week, one way of boosting defenses in the brain is by supporting the antioxidant defense system. Unfortunately, as we age, the body does not always have the ability to keep up with the production of antioxidants needed to combat the levels of free radicals being produced with our body.
Diminishing the potential of developing the disease by use of supplements is supported by many scholarly articles and scientific research. According to The Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation and many other research organizations, some of the supplements that are thought to be beneficial are:
• Coenzyme Q10
• Alpha lipoic acid
• Ginkgo biloba
• Phosphatidylserine (found in cabbage and soy)
Further, leading researchers from the Mayo Clinic, The Cleveland Clinic, The Journal of the American Medical Association, and The National Institute on Aging state that, all support that a diet rich in vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, is associated with a reduced rate of cognitive decline.
Slowing the progression
Alzheimer’s and related forms of dementia and memory loss cannot be reversed. However, there are a number of things that can be done to keep the mind in shape and thus delay decline.
Keeping the mind actively engaged and exercised has shown to be very successful in helping slow cognitive decline. Engaging in reading, writing, and mind/logic puzzles such as Sudoku, crosswords and even trivia games have shown to be successful tools for slowing cognitive decline.
One of the best ways you can feed your brain to encourage better memory is by avoiding a diet high in trans-fat and saturated fat. Eating foods that are high in antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, in addition to incorporating fruits and vegetables, fish rich in omega-3 oils and vegetarian protein substitutes (such as soy), are proving to be protective against memory loss.
If you are interested in learning more about what can be done to help slow cognitive decline, go online and search for the Rush Memory and Aging Project. The study, which began in 1997, has provided great information about factors associated with the maintenance of cognitive health.
A balanced diet and exercise provide our body the tools it needs to heal.
Before you integrate supplements into your daily routine, you should speak with your medical provider to make sure that they do not conflict with medications you may currently be taking.
Judson Haims is the owner of Visiting Angels Home Care in Eagle County. For more information, go to http://www.visiting angels.com/comtns or call 970-328-5526.