by Geri Walton ~ February 13th, 2009
Anyone affected by Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) can likely benefit from eating well-balanced healthy meals. It also means for meals to be well-balanced, they should include plenty of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, as well as fiber. Small meals may even be better because they tend to keep blood sugar levels even. Additionally, alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine may stress the immune system and cause problems for Alzheimer’s sufferers, so health care professional often recommend they be avoided. Besides those nutritional tips, there are other Alzheimer’s nutrition treatments recommended because some supplemental nutritional treatments seem to benefit AD sufferers.
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), “some studies hint that a variety of…supplements may be useful in delaying AD or stopping its progression.” Among these are
- Acetyl-l-carnitine (ALC), Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA), and Carnosine. According to a report written by Tim Batchelder and published in Life Extension Magazine, ALC helps prevent the “buildup of amyloid plaque that damages brain tissues and is emerging as a cause of cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s.” ALA, ALC, and carnosine may also prevent free-radical damage of nerve tissues, and “together ALA and ALC improve performance on memory tasks by lowering oxidative damage to [the] mitochondria.”
- Choline. Acetylcholine is synthesized from choline, and it supposedly boosts short term memory. In addition, one study, published in 1994, shows, “significant improvement in mental performance after 1 month of treatment with CDP-choline in patients with early-onset AD.”
- Coenzyme Q10 (Co Q10). Medline Plus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine, gives Co Q10 a grade of C in relation to Alzheimer’s. They state that “preliminary evidence suggests that Co Q10 supplements may slow down, but not cure, dementia in people with Alzheimer’s disease.”
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids. A Taiwanese study using forty-six patients—twenty three participants with mild or moderate Alzheimer’s disease and twenty-three with mild cognitive impairment—were given 1.8 grams of omega-3s a day for twenty-four weeks. Although no significant changes were observed in the cognitive portion, “the omega-3 fatty acids group showed significant improvement in ADAS-cog [Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale-cog] compared to the placebo group.”
- Vitamin E. Vitamin E may be good for Alzheimer’s patients for a variety of reasons. For instance, in one study, “Researchers at Ohio State University found that after just a year of treatment with vitamin E and the drug donepezil…people with Alzheimer’s disease performed much better on tests of cognitive ability than did people who hadn’t taken either substance.” Beside delaying Alzheimer’s progression, one study conducted a Baylor College of Medicine found evidence that vitamin E may help Alzheimer’s patients live longer. However, vitamin E may not be safe for everyone: Anyone with high blood pressure or anyone taking anticoagulants needs to be particularly cautious about vitamin E.
Alzheimer’s is a disease that has a great impact on everyone it touches. The National Institute on Aging estimates that as many as 4.5 million people are living with AD, and as baby boomers age, it is expected numbers will climb. Although there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, Alzheimer’s nutrition treatments, such as ALA, ALC, carnosine, choline, Co Q10, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin E supplements, may play a valuable role in delaying the disease and in improving the quality of life for those people affected by AD.