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Dynamic Chiropractic – September 9, 2012, Vol. 30, Issue 19
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dynamicchiropractic.com >> Geriatrics & Senior Health

Top 10 Nutrition / Lifestyle Strategies to Help Prevent Alzheimer's (Part 2)

By James P. Meschino, DC, MS

As mentioned in part 1 of this article [Aug. 26 issue], Alzheimer's disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S. and the only cause of death among the top 10 for which medical treatments are unable to prevent or slow its progression. In recent years, many studies suggest specific dietary and supplementation practices influence the development of Alzheimer's. This article continues with the top 10 lifestyle recommendations for baby boomers and young senior patients to help prevent Alzheimer's disease.

6. Make Melatonin Matter

After age 40, take a melatonin supplement one hour before bedtime. By age 40, melatonin secretion rates from the pineal gland in the brain have declined significantly. Melatonin is a vital brain antioxidant, sleep inducer and immune modulator. Low melatonin levels are linked to cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease. Studies show that providing cognitively impaired patients with melatonin supplements blocks the transition to Alzheimer's disease in a high percentage of cases. No medical treatment is available that shows a similar effect.22-29

I recommend that individuals over age 40 take a supplement containing the following: melatonin – 500 mcg; 5 HTP – 10 mg; GABA – 25 mg; and Bacopa monnieri – 15 mg. Take one hour before bedtime based on the dosage that enables one to fall asleep, remain asleep through the night, and wake up refreshed in the morning. Start with the minimum and increase the dosage until arriving at the ideal dosage. As one gets older, the dosage usually increases due to the steady decline in melatonin secretion with advancing age.

7. Preserve the Memory Chemical

prevent alzheimer's - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark After age 55, take a supplement each day that helps preserve brain levels of the memory chemical, acetylcholine. After 55, brain synthesis of acetylcholine declines. Low levels of acetylcholine are a hallmark feature of dementia and Alzheimer's disease. There are no drugs that increase brain synthesis of acetylcholine; only supplements have been shown to do this.30-60

After age 55 I recommend that patients take a supplement each day containing CDP-choline, phosphatidylserine, Bacopa monnieri and huperzine A.

8. Don't Damage the Brain

Avoid known brain-damaging substances. For example, don't drink alcohol. Alcohol kills brain cells. If you drink alcohol, have no more than three drinks per week. Don't smoke. Free radicals in cigarette smoke cause brain oxidation and increase the risk of cerebrovascular disease. Don't use recreational drugs, either, as many (including marijuana) are known to cause brain damage.61

9. Keep Your Mind Sharp

Keep your brain active by learning a new activity or new language. Examples include learning a musical instrument, taking dance lessons, playing ping-pong (mind-body activity), and learning a new skill or subject that is outside of your usual skill set, career endeavour, or leisure-time hobbies. This helps to carve new brain circuits, which keep the brain young.

It may interest you to know that individuals with lower education have higher rates of Alzheimer's disease. Use your brain power throughout all of adult life, and continue to learn things outside of your usual frame of reference. This is vital to preserving brain health.61

10. Protect Your Head

Finally, avoid head injuries by wearing a helmet when cycling, skiing, rollerblading etc., and avoiding high-risk head injury activities.61

References

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23. Pandi-Perumal SR, Zisapel N, Srinivasan V, Cardinali DP. Melatonin and sleep in aging population. Exp Gerontol, 2005 Dec;40(12):911-25.

24. Cardinali DP, Furio AM, Brusco LI. Clinical aspects of melatonin intervention in Alzheimer's disease progression. Curr Neuropharmacol, 2010 September;8(3):218-227.

25. Furio AM, Brusco LI, Cardinali DP. Possible therapeutic value of melatonin in mild cognitive impairment: a retrospective study. J Pineal Res, 2007;43:404-409.

26. Petersen RC, Smith GE, Waring SC, Ivnik RJ, Tangalos EG, Kokmen E. Mild cognitive impairment: clinical characterization and outcome. Arch Neurol, 1999;56:303-308.

27. Peck JS, LeGoff DB, Ahmed I, Goebert D. Cognitive effects of exogenous melatonin administration in elderly persons: a pilot study. Am J Geriatr Psych, 2004;12:432-436.

28. "B Vitamins Slow Brain Atrophy in People With Memory Problems." University of Oxford, Sept. 9, 2010. www.ox.ac.uk/media/news_stories/2010/100909.html

29. Kripke DF, Langer RD, Kline LE. Hypnotics' association with mortality and cancer: a matched cohort study. BMJ Open, 2012;2:e000850.

30. Foiravanti M, Yanagi M. Cytidinediphosphocholine (CDP-choline) for cognitive and behavioral disturbances associated with chronic cerebral disorders in the elderly. Cochrane Syst Rev, 2002;(2).

31. Bowman BA, Russell RM, Russell R. Present Knowledge in Nutrition, 5th Edition. The Nutrition Foundation, Inc., 1984;Choline:383-399.

32. Secades JJ, et al. CDP-choline: pharmacological and clinical review. Methods Find Exp Clin Pharmacol, 1995;17(Suppl B):1-54.

33. Zeisel SH, et al. Choline,an essential nutrient for humans. FASEB J, 1991;5:20093-2098.

34. Cenacchi T, Bertoldin T, Farina C, et al. Cognitive decline in the elderly: a double-blind, placebo-controlled multicenter study on efficacy of phosphatidylserine administration. Aging, 1993;5:123-33.

35. Crook T, Petrie W, Wells C, Massari DC. Effects of phosphatidylserine in Alzheimer's disease. Psychopharmacol Bull, 1992;28:61-6.

36. Crook TH, Tinklenberg J, Yesavage J, Petrie W, Nunzi MG, Massari DC. Effect of phosphatidylserine in age-associated memory impairment. Neurology, 1991;41:644-9.

37. Engel RR, Satzger W, Gunther W, Kathmann N, Bove D, Gerke S, et al. Double-blind cross-over study of phosphatidylserine vs. placebo in subjects with early cognitive deterioration of the Alzheimer type. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol, 1992;2:149-55.

38. Funfgeld EW, Baggen M, Nedwidek P, Richstein B, Mistlberger G. Double-blind study with phosphatidylserine (PS) in parkinsonian patients with senile dementia of Alzheimer's type (SKAT). Prog Clin Biol Res,1989;317:1235-46.

39. Maggioni M, Picotti GB, Bondiolotti GP, Panerai A, Cenacchi T, Nobil P, et al. Effects of phosphatidylserine therapy in geriatric patients with depressive disorders. Acta Psychiatr Scand, 1990;81:265-70.

40. Nunzi MG, Milan F, Guidolin D, et al. Effects of phosphatidylserine administration on age-related structural changes in the rat hippocampus and septal complex. Pharmacopsychiat, 1989;22:125-8.

41. Valzelli L, Kozak W, Zanotti A, Toffano G. Activity of phosphatidylserine on memory retrieval and on exploration in mice. Meth Find Extl Clin Pharmacol, 1987;9:657-60.

42. Vannucchi MG, Casamenti F, Pepeu G. Decrease of acetylcholine release from cortical slices in aged rats: investigations into its reversal by phosphatidylserine. J Neurochem,1990;55:819-25.

43. Dar A, Channa S. Calcium antagonistic activity of Bacopa monniera on vascular intestinal smooth muscles of rabbit and guinea pig. J Ethnopharmacol, 1999;66(2):167-74.

44. Dietary Supplement Information Bureau. www.content.intramedicine.com: Bacopa monnieri.

45. Kidd PM. A review of nutrients and botanicals in the integrative management of cognitive dysfunction. Altern Med Rev, 1999 Jun;4(3):144-61.

46. Mukherjee GD, et al. Clinical trial on brahmi. I. J Exp Med Sci, 1966;10(1):5-11.

47. Stough C, Lloyd J, Clarke J, Downey LA, Hutchison CW, Rodgers T, et al. The chronic effects of an extract of Bacopa monniera (Brahmi) on cognitive function in healthy human subjects. Psychopharmacol, 2001 Aug;156(4):481-4.

48. Tripathi YB, et al. Bacopa monniera linn as an antioxidant: mechanism of action. Indian J Exp Biol ,1996 Jun;34(6):523-6.

49. Vohora D, Pal SN, Pillai KK. Protection from phenbytoin-induced cognitive deficit by Bacopa monniera, a reputed Indian nootropic plant. J Ethnopharmacol, 2000 Aug;71(3):383-90.

50. Ashani Y, Peggins JO, Doctor BP. Mechanism of inhibition of cholinesterases by huperzine A. Biochem Biophys Res Commun, 1992:184:719-26.

51. Bai DL, et al. Huperzine A, a potential therapeutic agent for treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Curr Med Chem, 2000 Mar;7(3):355-74.

52. Cheng DH, Ren H, Tang XC. Huperzine A, a novel promising acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. Neuroreport, 1996;8:97-101.

53. Cheng DH, Tang XC. Comparative studies of huperzine A, E2020, and tacrine on behavior and cholinesterase activites. Pharmacol Biochem Behav, 1998;60:377-86.

54. Dworkin N. "Restoring Memory." Psychology Today 2000 Jul/Aug;32(4):28.

55. McCaleb R. "Huperzia Looks Promising for Improving Memory." HerbalGram, 1995 Oct 31;35:14.

56. Pirisi A. "Plant Wisdom: Memory Moss." Yoga Journal, 1999 Aug 31;147:95.

57. Sun QQ, Xu SS, Pan JL, et al. Huperzine-A capsules enhance memory and learning performance in 34 pairs of matched adolescent students. Acta Pharmacol Sin, 1999;20:601-3.

58. Tang XC. Huperzine A (shuangyiping): a promising drug for Alzheimer's disease. Chung Kuo Yao Li Hsueh Pao, 1996 Nov;17(6):481-4.

59. Wang Z, Ren G, Zhao Y, et al. A double-blind study of huperzine A and piracetam in patients with age-associated memory impairment and dementia. In: Kanba S, Richelson E (eds.) Herbal Medicines for Nonpsychiatric Diseases. Tokyo: Seiwa Choten Publishers, 1999:39-50.

60. Xu SS, Gao, ZX, Weng Z, et al. Efficacy of tablet huperzine-A on memory, cognition, and behavior in Alzheimer's disease. Chung Kuo Yao Li Hsueh Pao, 1995;16:391-5.

61. Amen D. Change Your Brain, Change Your Life. Three Rivers Press, 2000.


Click here for more information about James P. Meschino, DC, MS.

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