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Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, December 20, 2013

Vitamins Help Prevent Alzheimer's Disease
News Media Ignores Supplement Benefits . . .Again

(OMNS Dec 20, 2013) Nutritional supplementation with antioxidants and the B-complex vitamins has been shown to help prevent dementia. Half of all cases of Alzheimer's, the most common form of dementia, could be attributable to known dietary and lifestyle risk factors, and at least one fifth of current cases could be prevented right now.

But there's no money for prevention research, or sufficient political will to put prevention steps into action. To date, tens of billions of dollars have been spent on developing drugs, none of which have proven to stop or slow down the disease process. Yet already studies have shown that B vitamins have decreased the rate of brain shrinkage in the areas affected by Alzheimer's by almost nine times, as well as dramatically slowing down memory loss, in people with mild cognitive impairment, the precursor to Alzheimer's. Other promising preventive factors include exercise; controlling blood sugar and blood pressure; omega-3 fish oils; and getting involved in more social activities.

"Of the millions of pounds so far pledged for dementia research by the UK Government, none has been spent on prevention," says Professor David Smith from Oxford University. Dr. Smith's research group first identified that almost half of people over 60 have insufficient vitamin B12 to stop accelerated brain shrinkage. He believes we need to wake up to the fact that Alzheimer's is unlikely to be prevented by drugs.

Preventing Alzheimer's disease-related gray matter atrophy by B-vitamin treatment:

Vitamins B12, B6 and folic acid shown to slow Alzheimer's in study:

Low vitamin B-12 status in confirmed Alzheimer's disease:

Ways to Use Nutrition and Lifestyle to Prevent Alzheimer's:

Eat fish - Eat fish three to four times a week, with at least two servings of oily fish (salmon, mackerel, herrings, kippers, sardines or tuna). Eat more nuts and seeds, preferably raw.

Up the antioxidants - Eat at least six servings of brightly colored vegetables and berries. Supplemental vitamin E (natural mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols) 400 IU and several thousand mg of vitamin C per day are both good ideas.

Cut sugar and refined carbs - Follow a low glycemic load, Mediterranean style diet, with slow-releasing "whole" carbohydrates. Minimize sugar, sugary drinks and juices.

Take B vitamins - Supplementing with vitamin B6 (20mg), B12 (500mcg), niacinamide (400 mg) and folic acid (400mcg) is a sensible precaution. People with raised homocysteine need higher supplemental vitamin intake to prevent brain shrinkage.

Limit coffee and stop smoking - Choose herbal or green tea instead.

Be active - Keep physically, socially and mentally active by learning new things.

Ray Hodgson tried this approach. He took B vitamins and has also improved his diet, eating more fish, vegetables, and whole foods, and cutting back on sugar. "The effect has been remarkable," he said. "Whereas I had been forgetting names and finding it hard to take on new skills, my memory and concentration are definitely better."

The world-wide costs of dementia in 2010 were estimated to be over $600 billion. Prevention of dementia would thus not only prevent a tremendous amount of human suffering but would also save huge sums of money.

To Learn More:

High doses of vitamins fight Alzheimer's disease: Why don't doctors recommend them now?

Niacinamide restores cognition in Alzheimer's disease transgenic mice: (pdf download may take a few moments)

There is more on the internet about how niacinamide can help Alzheimer's, such as this article:

Vitamins E, C cut Alzheimer's risk, study says: People of retirement age who took supplements of both vitamin E and C daily saw their risk of Alzheimer's disease plummet by almost 80 per cent. Full text of original study:

Grant WB. (2014) Trends in diet and Alzheimer's disease during the nutrition transition in Japan and developing countries. J Alzheimers Dis. 2014 Jan 1;38(3):611-20. doi: 10.3233/JAD-130719.

Dean C. (2007) The Magnesium Miracle. Ballantine Press. ISBN-13: 9780345494580

Nutritional Medicine is Orthomolecular Medicine

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Editorial Review Board:

Ian Brighthope, M.D. (Australia)
Ralph K. Campbell, M.D. (USA)
Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D. (USA)
Damien Downing, M.D. (United Kingdom)
Dean Elledge, D.D.S., M.S. (USA)
Michael Ellis, M.D. (Australia)
Martin P. Gallagher, M.D., D.C. (USA)
Michael Gonzalez, D.Sc., Ph.D. (Puerto Rico)
William B. Grant, Ph.D. (USA)
Steve Hickey, Ph.D. (United Kingdom)
Michael Janson, M.D. (USA)
Robert E. Jenkins, D.C. (USA)
Bo H. Jonsson, M.D., Ph.D. (Sweden)
Peter H. Lauda, M.D. (Austria)
Thomas Levy, M.D., J.D. (USA)
Stuart Lindsey, Pharm.D. (USA)
Jorge R. Miranda-Massari, Pharm.D. (Puerto Rico)
Karin Munsterhjelm-Ahumada, M.D. (Finland)
Erik Paterson, M.D. (Canada)
W. Todd Penberthy, Ph.D. (USA)
Gert E. Schuitemaker, Ph.D. (Netherlands)
Robert G. Smith, Ph.D. (USA)
Jagan Nathan Vamanan, M.D. (India)
Atsuo Yanagisawa, M.D., Ph.D. (Japan)

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