Dementia is a devastating condition affecting upwards of 10,000,000 Americans, with—5 million having Alzheimer's Disease (AD). Dementia can be triggered by numerous causes including Alzheimer's, multi infarct dementia, and nutritional deficiencies. Treatment currently is geared towards giving the two barely helpful (but very profitable) medications, Aricept and Namenda, and beyond this; little is usually done.
Not because other treatments are not very helpful. But rather because they are so low cost that no one shows the data to your doctor. Well meaning as your doctor is. Wondering if this is so? Ask yours if they've seen the studies we discuss below. If not, they may want to explore why, as it will blow their minds to realize just how much Big Pharma controls their education! Fortunately, A LOT can be done to prevent or slow Alzheimer's and dementia. In fact, repeated autopsy studies have shown that 30–50 percent of those diagnosed with Alzheimer's NEVER has the slightest bit of the illness. Instead, they had other potentially reversible causes of their dementia!
SO in addition to using your brain, here are my top 7 tips! I have organized them using the pneumonic "DEMENTIA." The good news? These can also help optimize and maintain brain power in most people.
1. DRUGS—Get people off unneeded ones. Anticholinergic (AC) Meds (benadryl, tricyclic antidepressants, incontinence meds) are especially problematic. Risk for cognitive impairment was increased by 50 percent in adults receiving at least three mild ACs for more than 90 days and by 100 percent in those receiving one or more severe ACs for more than 60 days. Acid Blockers like omeprazole are also associated with a 44 percent increased risk of dementia. Blood pressure pills can be protective however, especially Beta Blockers (like Inderal) and ACE Inhibitors.
2. EMOTIONS—Depression, Anxiety and Sleep. Natural remedies can be especially helpful here, without the worsening often caused by the medications. For example, a special form of Curcumin (called Curamed 500 mg 2 x day) was more effective for depression that antidepressants in two six week head on studies (and see nutrition below). For both anxiety and sleep, a special component of Echinacea (called AnxioCalm by Terry Naturally) can be very helpful with no side effects. Terrific ZZZZ, Revitalizing Sleep Formula, and a special melatonin (Dual Spectrum 5 mg by Natures Bounty) can also be very helpful.
3. METABOLIC—This means optimizing bioidentical hormone levels. For example:
A. Low normal thyroid levels were associated with a 240 percent higher risk of dementia in women. Borderline elevated thyroid had as much as a 800 percent higher risk in men.
B.–Every 50 percent increase in free testosterone in the bloodstream was associated with a 26 percent decrease in the risk of developing Alzheimer's.
C.–Men who went on to develop Alzheimer's disease had about half the free testosterone in their bloodstreams as men who did not.
4. EARS AND EYES—Have vision and eye exams to optimize function.
5. NUTRITION—Optimize key areas of nutrition. Begin with good common sense and a whole food diet, low in gluten:
A. Optimize folate, B12 and B Vitamins. Check a Vitamin B12 level (keep over 540) and homocysteine level (keep under nine). Better yet, simply take a high potency vitamin powder (I use the Energy Revitalization System), which supplies virtually all the needed nutrients in optimal amounts in one low cost drink. Research in the recent issue of JAMA Psychiatry supports this. “The recent VITACOG study, in which 271 individuals older than 70 years who had mild cognitive impairment received supplementation with high-dose folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12, confirmed what other studies showed. They lost less brain compared to people who had normal homocysteine and normal vitamin levels, meaning that those with high levels of homocysteine or with clinical or biochemical vitamin deficiency can benefit from supplementation.”
B. Take a special highly absorbed form of Curcumin called CuraMed. Take 750 mg 2 x day (it would take 14–600 caps a day of other forms to get the same effect, so brand matters). The prevalence of Alzheimer's in India is 70 percent lower than in the US, and this has been traced to the curcumin in the diet, which shows promise in many neurodegenerative conditions, including also Parkinson's.
C. Explore ketogenic diets, coconut oil, etc.
6. TUMORS AND OTHER BRAIN ISSUES—Dementia is a very good reason to get a CT scan or head MRI.
7. INFECTIONS & ANEMIA and other overt medical problems. Dementia means it's time to get a thorough checkup from both the neurologist and your holistic physician (see www.ABIHM. org to find one).
With these common sense research proven tips, you can often prevent, and even reverse, dementia!
Jacob E Teitelbaum, MD
Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, is a board certified internist and Medical Director of the national Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers and Chronicity. He is author of the popular free iPhone application "Cures A-Z," and author of the best-selling book From Fatigued to Fantastic! (Avery/Penguin Group), Pain Free 1-2-3 (McGraw-Hill), Three Steps to Happiness: Healing Through Joy (Deva Press 2003), Beat Sugar Addiction NOW! (Fairwinds Press, 2010), and his newest book Real Cause, Real Cure (Rodale Press, July 15, 2011). Dr. Teitelbaum knows CFS/fibromyalgia as an insider — he contracted CFS when he was in medical school and had to drop out for a year to recover. In the ensuing 25 years, he has dedicated his career to finding effective treatment.