Author: Stephen Langer
Reduce your risk of memory loss – Every essential nutrient is important in brain function, but antioxidant nutrients, which prevent the build-up of cell-destroying free radicals, are crucial.
What is Alzheimer’s disease?
Medically, Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive degenerative disorder which attacks the brain, resulting in impaired memory and decreased intellectual function and, ultimately, physical degeneration and death.
This disease was discovered in 1907 by a German neurologist named Alois Alzheimer who found characteristic degenerative changes on post-mortem examinations in the brains of those who had suffered with senile dementia.
How is Alzheimer’s different?
This form is distinguishable from other forms of dementia in characteristic brain changes visible by microscopic examination: 1) tangles of neurofibers; 2) the collection of plaque; and, often, 3) the presence of aluminum. There is still controversy as to whether aluminum is a cause or an effect. (However, to be on the safe side, I advise my patients to read labels carefully and eliminate as many aluminum-containing foods, drugs, and cosmetics as possible.)
The tangles and plaque deposits were usually localized in the hippocampus, the brain area responsible for memory and intellectual functions. The estimated number of Alzheimer’s suffers is staggering: 10 percent of the over-50 population and 50 percent of individuals over the age of 85.
In addition to serious memory loss, Alzheimer’s victims suffer a vide range of mental and physical conditions: inability to concentrate (with attendant frustration), disorientation, depression, and psychotic behavior; and, later, eventual incontinence which often leads to their total dependency upon others.
Inasmuch as symptoms of many disorders mimic those of Alzheimer s disease — as illustrated earlier — these health concerns should, of course, be ruled out first in everyone who is experiencing any of the aforementioned conditions. Fortunately, very often, the key to dissipating various mind- and body-limiting conditions and to realizing optimal health is with super nutrition.
Essential “brain” nutrients
Every essential nutrient (those not manufactured by the body) is important in brain function, but antioxidant nutrients which prevent the build-up of cell-destroying free radicals are crucial — particularly vitamins C, E, selenium, grape seed extract, glutathione peroxidase, and superoxide dismutase (SOD).
Another key brain nutrient is vitamin B-1 (thiamin), a powerful antioxidant necessary for regulating and normalizing the transformation of glucose into energy. Most heavy alcohol drinkers are chronically B-1 deficient, which, in certain cases, can lead to an organic brain syndrome that makes thinking and remembering difficult.
Vitamin B-3 (niacin) improves brain function by improving blood circulation and enhancing the oxygen-carrying ability of red blood cells.
Vitamin B-5 (pantothenic acid) helps to convert dietary choline into acetylcholine, an essential neurotransmitter. This nutrient is also a must in glucose metabolism. Sadly, older adults receive only about 1/3 of the RDA for vitamin B-5, while the typical adolescent is often 50 percent below recommendations.
Vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine) is necessary for the synthesizing of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine, scrotonin, and dopamine and is vitally needed for the brain to function in high gear. So many people are on a high-protein diet and don’t realize that this increases the need for vitamin B-6, which is often deficient in the American diet.
Vitamin B-12 (cyancobalamin) stimulates RNA synthesis in nerve cells, and deficiencies are often associated with some forms of dementia. B-12 may be deficient in the diet of strict vegetarians.
Still another B vitamin, choline, is the precursor of the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, and may help to improve memory and cognitive performance (relating to thinking, reasoning, remembering, imagining, or learning) by increasing the amount of choline in the brain. It has proved beneficial in enhancing memory function in people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Choline is a major ingredient of lecithin.
The wonder herb, ginkgo biloba, has amazing powers, which are accomplished by its ability to increase blood circulation in the brain and, of course, throughout the body and to prevent free-radical damage. Ginkgo also improves the brain’s ability to metabolize glucose, the brain’s major food, into energy, which, in turn, increases nerve cell transmission.
Ginkgo also increases the brain’s production of the energy molecule ATP, keeps blood vessels in the brain flexible, and prevents arterial platelet aggregation which can impair vital brain circulation. Ginkgo also seems to increase brain alpha wave activity associated with alertness and decreases theta wave activity associated with lack of attention.
Ginkgo extract seemingly works wonders in many people. However, don’t expect instant miracles. Many of its users make the mistake of expecting too much too fast and quitting after taking the first bottle of it. You must be patient as the effects of ginkgo build over time.