dementia

  • 7 Powerful Ways to Protect Your Brain & Prevent Alzheimer’s & Dementia

    7 Powerful Ways to Protect Your Brain & Prevent Alzheimer’s & Dementia Jacob Teitelbaum

    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 Psychiatrysupports 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!

  • Curcumin and Curry Spice Help Diabetes and Cancer

    As the snowy cold weather begins to roll into Colorado, I crave warmer, heartier meals like chili, stews and brisket. Juicing kale and celery when it's 4 degrees outside doesn't cut it. So at this time of year, garlic and curry go in everything I eat. Let's talk curry today. Penang, red or green curry, it's all good with me! Curry sounds like it's one spice, but it's actually a blend of spices, and it always contains some turmeric spice.

    Turmeric comes from the ginger family. This yellow-orange spice was first used as a dye until its medicinal properties were uncovered. Our research today proves turmeric positively benefits hundreds of health conditions, making it a healthy and tasty sprinkle for any dish. Do I want it right now? Yes please!

    You can buy the spice called turmeric all by itself if you don't like curry. Supplements of turmeric are sold everywhere. And you'll also find "curcumin" which is one potent extract of turmeric.

    Curcumin may prevent or improve age-related cognitive decline, dementia, and mood disorders. This is not wishful thinking, it's true. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial observed 60 adults between the ages of 60 and 85. After about one hour of their curcumin dose, these adults enjoyed a higher attention span and better memory than those who swallowed the dud pill, the placebo. After four weeks of curcumin supplements, memory, mood, alertness, and contentedness were considerably better in the participants.

    Curcumin is a hot supplement, not spicy hot, but "hot" in the sense that research is conducted frequently. I found more than 900 published research papers pertaining to curcumin's anti-cancer activity. One of these papers found that curcumin has the ability to make some cancer cells commit suicide. Basically, curcumin programs the cell to die! That's a good thing, you want those cancer cells to go bye-bye! Technically, we call this "apoptosis." Cancers that are resistant to multiple chemotherapeutic agents seem to still respond to curcumin, at least in mouse studies. Because of curcumin's long-term record of safety and low risk of side effects, I think it's a great natural adjunct to many protocols, especially for breast and prostate cancer. It's a strong anti-inflammatory.

    Type 2 diabetes has reached epidemic proportions. Diabetes Care, the journal of the American Diabetes Association, published a study about curcumin's ability to prevent pre-diabetic patients from becoming full-blown diabetics. Results after 9 months showed 100% success! No one progressed. Further, curcumin-treated patients had better pancreatic beta cell function and higher adiponectinin. Excellent! You know, I'm a pharmacist and I'll tell you there isn't one drug behind the counter that competes.

    Curcumin is the 'Kardashian' of herbs. It's spicy, notorious, and a little goes a long way if you know what I mean. Too much is not good, it's a laxative. Most importantly, curry, and curcumin are considered effective and safe by most physicians. I'd ask about supplementing with it if you have inflammatory conditions, especially autoimmune ones like rheumatoid, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's and psoriasis.

  • Don't Forget Your Vitamin B12

    Vitamin B12 deficiency dementia Alzheimers disease Sherrill Sellman

    If there is one disability that creates the greatest alarm for the baby boomer generation, it would be the loss of memory and brain functions. The concern is justified.

    Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia now affect 97,000 Canadians, and by 2031 it is estimated that this number will rise to 750,000. Unfortunately, this is a worldwide trend with an estimated 24 million people presently diagnosed with dementia and an estimated 81 million predicted by 2040.

    Are the various forms of dementia an inevitable consequence of aging or could they, in some instances, be symptomatic of an underlying (and overlooked) nutritional deficiency?

    Effects of B12 Deficiency
    There is growing evidence that a vitamin B12 deficiency, which affects an estimated one-quarter of North Americans, plays a major role in the decline of neurological functions. B12 deficiency is more commonly found in the elderly and those with predisposing conditions such as Crohn’s disease.

    Vitamin B12 (cobalamin), a fragile, water-soluble compound that performs a wide variety of functions in the body, is vital for good health. B12 is essential for normal nervous system function and normal red cell, white cell, and platelet production. A deficiency of B12, which may not be detected in a blood test, can result in neurological disorders often mimicking senility, dementia, or Alzheimer’s disease.

    Causes of B12 Deficiency
    Diet, age, and drugs are the prime culprits behind B12 deficiency. The primary sources of vitamin B12 are meat, dairy, eggs, and fish. Inadequate intake of these foods or impaired absorption directly impacts B12 levels. A vegan diet will not provide adequate sources of B12.

    It should also be noted that microwave cooking may inactivate vitamin B12. Researchers found that after just six minutes of microwaving, nearly half of the vitamin B12 in food was destroyed.

    How B12 Works
    Vitamin B12 has the unique ability to provoke the regeneration of nerves without adverse side effects. This is because B12 facilitates methylation, the process that creates and maintains nerves and brain chemicals. In addition, vitamin B12 is able to lower homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is a toxic by-product of methionine metabolism that can damage neurons. Importantly, homocysteine interferes with the methylation reactions critical for brain function. By lowering homocysteine levels, neurological functions can be improved.

    Vitamin B12 also protects brain health by helping in the synthesis of the neurotransmitters, serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.

    People who do not respond to supplemental vitamin B12 may also be deficient in folate. Since vitamin B12 and folate work synergistically to restore normal homocysteine levels, increasing folate may also be necessary.

    Boosting B12
    In the past, vitamin B12 was administered by injections. However, oral B12 supplements have been found to be as good as or better than injections. While there are several forms of B12, methylcobalamin is the most neurologically active form. When taken sublingually (under the tongue), it is immediately assimilated into the brain.

    A daily dose of 1,000 mcg of B12 is usually sufficient. However, if there is a deficiency then 2,000 mcg daily for one month is recommended, followed by 1,000 mcg daily.

    There is little question that many people exhibiting symptoms of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia actually suffer from a vitamin B12 deficiency. For so many people, simply taking a B12 supplement could rescue them from the darkness.

    Effects of Dementia
    While depression is a common symptom of early-stage dementia, the following can also be affected:

    • language
    • comprehension
    • motor skills
    • short-term memory
    • reaction time
    • personality traits
    • mood or behavior

    Who is at Risk of B12 Deficiency?
    The elderly are most at risk of B12 deficiencies. There are several reasons for this:

    • reduced production of intrinsic factor, a protein secreted by the stomach to help the body absorb B12
    • low levels of hydrochloric acid, necessary for digesting proteins and maintaining intrinsic factor
    • prescription and over-the-counter drugs for stomach ulcers, heartburn, or gastroesophageal reflux

  • How to Improve Memory

    You don't get alarmed when you you lose your keys, but what if you constantly forget what you were trying to say a few seconds ago. Full blown dementia and Alzheimer's disease is disabling and difficult on family members. Today I am offering suggestions from my Functional Medicine standpoint which should protect your brain and help you regain memory molecules.

    Eliminate harmful foods. We know that certain foods and additives can slow down brain function, or harm your cells. We know them as excitotoxins because they 'excite' or vibrate your cell to death. So it's better for your brain cells to eliminate artificial sweeteners, colors and preservatives. This pretty much means no more junk food or sugar substitutes. Animal studies prove the presence of brain damage in mice that ate junk food for only 9 months. I bet some of you have been eating this stuff for decades.

    Eliminate drugs that mess with your mind. First on the list is alcohol. Yep, you didn't know alcohol was a "drug"? Well, it can kill your brain cells over time. The more hangovers, the worse for you. Also, antihistamines (allergy medicine) can leave you with morning brain fog and cognitive fatigue. In particular, diphenhydramine, or any drug with that ingredient in it, will leave you a little messed up in the morning. Drugs that end in "PM" sometimes have this ingredient in it.

    Exercise. One very fast way to increase brain-derived neurotropic factor or BDNF. The more BDNF you have, the stronger and tighter the connections are between your brain cells. This means less brain fog, sharper memory, better focus and heightened alertness. Supplements raise BDNF, but exercise does it rapidly and for free. Get moving!

    DMAE. Dimethylaminoethanol. Our brain makes it and it occurs naturally in sardines and anchovies. Yum! You can also get supplements. It's iffy as to whether it increases your acetylcholine, a memory hormone, but some people claim benefit.

    SOD. That stands for Superoxide Dismutase, and it's an enzyme that we have when we are born. The SOD enzyme is responsible for putting out the fire in your body, more specifically reducing ROS (reactive oxygen species) commonly termed free radicals. SOD is a strong antioxidant, and it reduces amyloid plaque deposits associated with Alzheimer's disease. Some people (like me) don't have enough SOD enzymes, mine are genetically cramped, so I take SOD supplements. Luckily, we are not our SNPs, so having an SOD mutation doesn't necessarily mean you will develop cognitive dysfunction.

    Vinpocetine. I love this herb. It increases cerebral blood flow and is well-studied. One Hungarian study literally concluded, "vinpocetine treatment can be recommended for patients with mild cognitive impairment."

    Theobromine. Similar to caffeine this is found in small amounts in coffee, chocolate, carob and tea. It stimulates your vagus nerve to increase oxygen flow to your brain to improve mood and energy. If you would like more brain boosters, go to my website (suzycohen.com) and read the longer version of this article.

  • Improving Memory & Cognitive Performance

    Improving Memory & Cognitive Performance Prof. Gene Bruno, MS, MHS

    As we grow older, we may grow wiser, but we can also experience age-related memory impairment (ARMI). ARMI is relatively common1 and should not be confused with Alzheimer’s or other dementia, while ARMI is simply mild memory problems associated with normal aging (e.g. “Where did I put my keys?”). Even so, the memory loss and cognitive slowing associated with ARMI can interfere with our daily routines.2 In fact, according to a national survey, worries over retaining mental sharpness with age was the number two health concern among consumers (second only to worries about continuing with normal activities with age).3

    So what can we do to help maintain mental sharpness with aging? Aside from eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise (which is good advice for everybody in all age groups), there are some very specific nutraceuticals (i.e. vitamins, herbs, amino acids), which have been shown to be effective for just this purpose. These include Bacopa monnieri leaf extract, Panax ginseng root extract, Rhodiola rosea root extract, natural caffeine and L-theanine, folic acid and vitamin B12.

    Bacopa monnieri leaf extract
    The leaves of the Bacopa monnieri plant have been used for centuries in the traditional East Indian system of healthcare (i.e. Ayurveda) for purposes of promoting “healthy longevity, and strengthening life, brain, and mind.”4 While that is certainly impressive, it is even more impressive that several modern, human clinical studies have been conducted showing that supplementation with Bacopa helped:

    • Improve occasional, age-related absentmindedness.
    • Promote a healthy memory.
    • Improve some measures of delayed recall.
    • Promote cognitive function.
    Percentage Increase in Total Memory Score

    Most of these studies5,6,7,8,9,10,11 found that daily supplementation with 300 mg of Bacopa monnieri leaf extract (standardized for 50 percent total bacosides), provided significant benefits by week 12—although progressive benefits in Total Memory Score were also seen during week four and eight as well.12

    It should also be noted that these studies were conducted in men and women who were at least 40 years old, and in most cases more than 55 years old. That means that you’re more likely to experience similar benefits if you’re middle-aged and older, rather than if you’re in your 20s or 30s.

    If you’re wondering how Bacopa works, research13 suggests that it helps to maintain healthy levels of acetylcholine, a compound your body makes that works in your brain to help facilitate memory, learning ability and cognitive performance.

    Panax ginseng root extract
    Panax ginseng root, or ginseng for short, is a traditional Chinese herb, which has been used for thousands of years for various aspects of healthcare. It is also one of the most widely-researched herbs in modern science with over 5,000 published studies. Ginseng belongs to a category of herbs known as adaptogens. Adaptogens are herbs that help stabilize physiological processes and promote homeostasis (i.e. stable, healthy functioning of the body), especially in the case of stress and fatigue. This property was seen in two human clinical studies14,15 examining the effects of ginseng on mental performance. The results demonstrated that 200 mg of ginseng root extract daily:

    • Improved speed of mental performance within 60 minutes.
    • Enhance performance of mental arithmetic within 60 minutes.
    • Reduce feelings of mental fatigue within 60 minutes.
    • Quickly reduced feelings of mental fatigue during sustained mental activity.
    • Quickly improved some measures of mental performance.

    While many nutraceuticals may take weeks to work, these studies found that ginseng root extract provided beneficial results in as little as 60 minutes.

    Rhodiola rosea root extract
    Like ginseng, Rhodiola rosea root is an adaptogen. This plant has been used for centuries in the traditional systems of healthcare throughout Russia, Scandinavia, and other countries where it was used to increase physical endurance, work productivity, longevity, and to treat fatigue, mood and promote a healthy nervous system.16 Currently, there are over 500 studies on Rhodiola demonstrating the value of this plant. The reason for its inclusion in Ageless Memory is that human clinical research17,18,19 shows that supplementation with Rhodiola:

    • Improved capacity for mental work during stress.
    • Supports healthy cognitive function during stress.
    • Reduced fatigue during stress.

    These benefits were seen when 370 mg of Rhodiola root extract was used daily, and when it was standardized for 3 percent salidroside and 1 percent rosavins—key compounds in Rhodiola. This standardization is particularly important since most Rhodiola extracts have the opposite standardization: 1 percent salidroside and 3 percent rosavins. Consequently, products with this opposite standardization are not providing the correct balance of Rhodiola compounds used in these cited studies.

    Natural Caffeine and L-Theanine
    Black tea leaf extract provides natural caffeine as well as the amino acid L-theanine. This is an important distinction because not all sources of caffeine are natural, and not all sources provide L-theanine as well. Consider that if you buy one of those popular energy shots that are supposed to last a few hours, they contain caffeine anhydrous. That’s a synthetic form of caffeine. And while coffee certainly contains natural caffeine, we all know about the jittery effect on your nerves if you get too much—and some of the freshly brewed coffee you get from popular coffee houses can contain hundreds of milligrams of caffeine. Tea, on the other hand, also provides L-theanine, which has a calming effect. That’s likely the reason why drinking tea isn’t typically associated with caffeine jitters like coffee—it contains L-theanine, which helps sooth over-stimulated nerves. Now to be clear, the amount of caffeine used in research with L-theanine is only 50 mg—that’s the amount of caffeine you’d typically find in one-half cup of moderately brewed coffee. Furthermore, 100 mg of L-theanine was used alongside the caffeine. When this combination was used together, human clinical research20,21,22,23,24,25 has shown that supplementation:

    • Helped maintain focus.
    • Helped with mental flexibility, the ability to shift attention from one task to another and efficiently adapt to different situations.
    • Helped improve focus on the information while filtering out other stimuli.
    • Helped improve focus during cognitively demanding tasks.
    • Helped improve speed and accuracy of cognitive performance.
    • Helped improve mental alertness.

    Folic Acid and Vitamin B12
    Folic acid and vitamin B12 are both critical B vitamins that perform a variety of functions in the human body. Among those functions are the roles they play in cognitive performance. For example, in one study26 older adults were supplemented with 400 mcg of folic acid and 100 mcg of vitamin B12 daily. The results showed that this combination:

    • Supported healthy cognitive function in older adults.
    • Promoted healthy memory performance in older adults.

    Furthermore, vitamin B12 deficiency can result in memory loss, and supplementation can help prevent it.27,28 Since vitamin B12 deficiency is estimated to affect 10 –15 percent of individuals over the age of 60,29 supplementation is certainly worthwhile.

    What to Expect When Taking Ageless Memory
    It should be noted that the aforementioned nutraceuticals tend to provide their effects at different times, so even if you use all of them your results will be progressive rather than instantaneous. Essentially, here’s how it will likely work (although everyone is different and results and timing may differ for you as well):

    Nutraceutical Effects on Memory and Cognitive Function

    Endnotes:

    1. Hanninen T, Koivisto K, Reinikainen KJ, Helkala EL, Soininen H, Mykkänen L, Laakso M, Riekkinen PJ. Prevalence of ageing-associated cognitive decline in an elderly population. Age Ageing. 1996 May;25(3):201–5.
    2. Hedden T, Gabrieli JDE. Insights into the ageing mind: a view from cognitive neuroscience. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2004;5:87–96.
    3. Sloan AE, Hut CA. Reading the Compass: Up-and-Coming Market Trends. Nutraceuticals World. October 1, 2013. Retrieved November 9, 2015 from http://www.nutraceuticalsworld.com/issues/2013-10/view_features/reading-the-compass-up-and-coming-market-trends/.
    4. Engels G, Brinckmann J. Bacopa. HerbalGram. 2011;91:1–4.
    5. Morgan A, Stevens J. Does Bacopa monnieri Improve Memory Performance in Older Persons? Results of a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind Trial. J Altern Complem Med. 2010; 16(7): 753–9.
    6. Calabrese C, Gregory WL, Leo M, Kraemer D, Bone K, Oken B. Effects of a Standardized Bacopa monnieri Extract on Cognitive Performance, Anxiety, and Depression in the Elderly: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. J Altern Complem Med. 2008;14(6):707–13.
    7. Roodenrys S, Booth D, Bulzomi S, Phipps A, Micallef C, Smoker J. Chronic effects of Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) on human memory. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2002 Aug;27(2):279–81.
    8. Stough C, Lloyd J, Clarke J, Downey LA, Hutchison CW, Rodgers T, Nathan PJ. The chronic effects of an extract of Bacopa monniera (Brahmi) on cognitive function in healthy human subjects. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2001 Aug;156(4):481–4.
    9. Stough C, Downey LA, Lloyd J, Silber B, Redman S, Hutchison C, Wesnes K, Nathan PJ. Examining the nootropic effects of a special extract of Bacopa monniera on human cognitive functioning: 90 day double-blind placebo-controlled randomized trial. Phytother Res. 2008 Dec;22(12):1629-34.
    10. Raghav S, Singh H, Dalal PK, Srivastava JS, Asthana OP. Randomized controlled trial of standardized Bacopa monniera extract in age-associated memory impairment. Indian J Psychiatry. 2006 Oct-Dec; 48(4): 238–42.
    11. Pase MP, Kean J, Sarris J, Neale C, Scholey AB, Stough C. The cognitive-enhancing effects of Bacopa monnieri: a systematic review of randomized, controlled human clinical trials. J Altern Complement Med. 2012 Jul;18(7):647–52.
    12. Raghav S, Singh H, Dalal PK, Srivastava JS, Asthana OP. Randomized controlled trial of standardized Bacopa monniera extract in age-associated memory impairment. Indian J Psychiatry. 2006 Oct-Dec; 48(4): 238–242.
    13. Stough C, Lloyd J, Clarke J, Downey LA, Hutchison CW, Rodgers T, Nathan PJ. The chronic effects of an extract of Bacopa monniera (Brahmi) on cognitive function in healthy human subjects. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2001 Aug;156(4):481–4.
    14. Reay JL, Kennedy DO, Scholey AB. Single doses of Panax ginseng (G115) reduce blood glucose levels and improve cognitive performance during sustained mental activity. J Psychopharmacol. 2005 Jul;19(4):357–65.
    15. Reay JL, Kennedy DO, Scholey AB. Effects of Panax ginseng, consumed with and without glucose, on blood glucose levels and cognitive performance during sustained ‘mentally demanding’ tasks. J Psychopharmacol. 2006 Nov;20(6):771–81.
    16. Brown RP, Gerbarg PL, Ramazanov Z. Rhodiola rosea: A Phytomedicinal Overview. HerbalGram 2002; 56:40–52.
    17. Darbinyan V, Kteyan A, Panossian A, Gabrielian E, Wikman G, Wagner H. Rhodiola rosea in stress induced fatigue—a double blind cross-over study of a standardized extract SHR-5 with a repeated low-dose regimen on the mental performance of healthy physicians during night duty. Phytomedicine. 2000 Oct;7(5):365–71.
    18. Spasov AA, Wikman GK, Mandrikov VB, Mironova IA, Neumoin VV. A double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study of the stimulating and adaptogenic effect of Rhodiola rosea SHR-5 extract on the fatigue of students caused by stress during an examination period with a repeated low-dose regimen. Phytomedicine. 2000 Apr;7(2):85–9.
    19. Shevtsov VA, Zholus BI, Shervarly VI, Vol’skij VB, Korovin YP, Khristich MP, Roslyakova NA, Wikman G. A randomized trial of two different doses of a SHR-5 Rhodiola rosea extract versus placebo and control of capacity for mental work. Phytomedicine. 2003 Mar;10(2–3):95–105.
    20. Einöther SJ, Martens VE, Rycroft JA, De Bruin EA. L-theanine and caffeine improve task switching but not intersensory attention or subjective alertness. Appetite. 2010 Apr;54(2):406–9.
    21. Kelly SP, Gomez-Ramirez M, Montesi JL, Foxe JJ. L-theanine and caffeine in combination affect human cognition as evidenced by oscillatory alpha-band activity and attention task performance. J Nutr. 2008 Aug;138(8):1572S–1577S.
    22. Foxe JJ, Morie KP, Laud PJ, Rowson MJ, de Bruin EA, Kelly SP. Assessing the effects of caffeine and theanine on the maintenance of vigilance during a sustained attention task. Neuropharmacology. 2012 Jun;62(7):2320–7.
    23. Owen GN, Parnell H, De Bruin EA, Rycroft JA. The combined effects of L-theanine and caffeine on cognitive performance and mood. Nutr Neurosci. 2008 Aug;11(4):193–8. 24. Giesbrecht T, Rycroft JA, Rowson MJ, De Bruin EA. The combination of L-theanine and caffeine improves cognitive performance and increases subjective alertness. Nutr Neurosci. 2010 Dec;13(6):283–90.
    24. De Bruin EA, Rowson MJ, Van Buren L, Rycroft JA, Owen GN. Black tea improves attention and self-reported alertness. Appetite. 2011 Apr;56(2):235–40.
    25. Walker JG, Batterham PJ, Mackinnon AJ, Jorm AF, Hickie I, Fenech M, Kljakovic M, Crisp D, Christensen H. Oral folic acid and vitamin B-12 supplementation to prevent cognitive decline in community-dwelling older adults with depressive symptoms—the Beyond Ageing Project: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012;95:194–203.
    26. Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Vitamin B12. Dietary reference intakes for thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, pantothenic acid, biotin, and choline. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press; 1998:306–56.
    27. Healton EB, Savage DG, Brust JC, Garrett TJ, Lindenbaum J. Neurologic aspects of cobalamin deficiency. Medicine (Baltimore). 1991;70(4): 229–45. [ABSTRACT ONLY]
    28. Baik HW, Russell RM. Vitamin B12 deficiency in the elderly. Annu Rev Nutr. 1999;19:357–77. [ABSTRACT ONLY]
  • Nutrient Cocktail Improves Alzheimer-Related Memory Decline

    A blend of choline, uridine, and docohexaenoic acid (DHA) serves as precursor to lipid molecules essential for forming and maintaining membranes of brain cells, thereby helping to avert the loss of synapses—connections between brain cells that can lead to memory loss and other cognitive impairments.

    Choline can be found in meats, nuts and eggs, and omega-3 fatty acids are found in a variety of sources, including fish, eggs, flaxseed and meat from grass-fed animals. Uridine is produced by the liver and kidney, and is present in some foods as a component of RNA. Docohexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 fatty acid, best known for its role in promoting cardiovascular health. Richard Wurtman, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT; Massachusetts, USA), and colleagues submit that these three nutrients are precursors to the lipid molecules that, along with specific proteins, make up brain-cell membranes, which form synapses. To be effective, all three precursors must be administered together. The researchers followed 259 patients for six months. Patients, whether taking the nutrient blend or a placebo, improved their verbal-memory performance for the first three months, but the placebo patients deteriorated during the following three months, whereas the nutrient blend patients continued to improve. Further, electroencephalography (EEG) studies revealed changes in brain-activity patterns throughout the study: as the trial went on, the brains of patients receiving the nutrient blend started to shift from patterns typical of dementia to more normal patterns. Because EEG patterns reflect synaptic activity, the researchers submit that synaptic function increased following treatment with the nutrient blend.

    References:

    1. Philip Scheltens, Jos W.R. Twisk, Rafael Blesa, Elio Scarpini, Christine A.F. von Arnim, Richard J. Wurtman, et al. “Efficacy of Souvenaid in Mild Alzheimer’s Disease: Results from a Randomized, Controlled Trial.” J Alzheimer’s Dis., Volume 31, Number 1, July 2012, Pages 225–36.
  • Phosphatidylserine and Cognitive Function

    Phosphatidylserine (PS) is quite literally a “brain nutrient.” As a matter of fact, this phospholipid is an integral component in the structure of the brain and spinal cord, and is active at cell membranes (including synaptic membrane zones). A significant amount of published clinical research has demonstrated that PS supplementation supports various cognitive parameters in adults and in children.1

    Age-related memory impairment
    Kato-Kataoka et al2 conducted a double-blind, randomized controlled study to investigate the effects of PS on the cognitive functions of elderly Japanese subjects with memory complaints. Seventy-eight elderly people with mild cognitive impairment (50–69 years old) were randomly allocated to take PS (100 mg, 300 mg/day) or placebo for six months. In the subjects with relatively low score at baseline, the memory scores in PS treated groups were significantly increased against the baseline, while those of the placebo group remained unchanged. And the memory improvements in PS treated groups were mostly attributed to the increase in delayed verbal recall, a memory ability attenuated in the earliest stage of dementia.

  • Preventing Hospital Induced Dementia

    Preventing Hospital Induced Dementia Jacob Teitelbaum MD

    The Importance of Routine and Familiarity

    Picture this common hospital scene...

    You are 75 years old, and have been on a water fast for a week, being woken every 2â€"4 hours (vital sign checks and the person shrieking all night in the bed next to you), you get upset and want to leave or just get up to pee. You have an IV in, so the nurse won't let you up, so you complain—perhaps loudly. Next thing you know, you get strapped down to the bed in a posey jacket and four point restraints. You can't get up now, so they stick a catheter up your bladder and rectum, while you are left half naked. This leaves you upset, so the staff drugs you with sedatives and antipsychotics. The catheter triggers bladder infections which disorient you further. Meanwhile, being drugged out leaves you paranoid and panicked, leading to, you guessed it, more drugs. You are in unfamiliar environs, and nothing identifies you as human. Instead, you are the 'Dementia in room 7.' No one knows you from before the hospitalization to know that this is not who you usually are. By now, you are near psychotic and of course unable to go home. Your family is given this disappointing news, having no idea the problem was preventable, and you get packed to a nursing home. To make you more manageable, you are kept on psychoactive drugs and treated like a child.

    Welcome to "Hospital Induced Delirium & Dementia"
    Until recently, hospital-acquired delirium was attributed to old age and not considered important to prevent or treat. But it is critical. People who develop delirium in the hospital end up in nursing homes a staggering 75 percent of the time, five times higher than those without hospital induced delirium. It also leads to longer stays in the hospital, an average of nine days compared to four without delirium, costing an average $60,000 per hospital stay.1 Add to that the average $70,000 yearly cost of being in a nursing home, and the emotional and financial benefits of prevention become staggering.

    So How Can I Prevent Hospital Induced Delirium and Dementia?
    Begin by simply remembering to provide familiarity for the hospitalized person. In addition, these measures remind staff that this is a real human being with a loving family, rather than 'The demented gallbladder in 26.' Here are simple ways hospital induced delirium and the vicious cycle it leads to can be avoided.

    Early warning signs include:
    • Cognitive impairment, such as poor memory, particularly of recent events, disorientation, not knowing where one is, or rambling or nonsense speech.
    • Inability to stay focused on a topic, or getting stuck on an idea rather than responding to questions or conversation.
    • Hallucinations, extreme emotions, or combative behavior.
    • Elderly people who are recovering in the hospital are particularly vulnerable to delirium. Approximately seven million Americans experience delirium in the hospital each year, and it is undiagnosed 60 percent of the time.2

    All of the above suggests that avoiding optional hospitalizations are a good idea. Ask these questions:

    1. Can having a visiting nurse or family member avoid the need for hospitalization?
    2. Is the person being admitted for a test or treatment that could be skipped?

    The risk-benefit equation can change dramatically in the elderly when the risk of hospital-induced delirium is factored in. Meanwhile, it is not only hospitalization itself that increases risk. A large population-based study conducted by investigators at the Neurological Institute in Taipei Veterans General Hospital showed that the risk of developing dementia nearly doubled within three to seven years of anesthesia and surgery. In addition, the average time to dementia diagnosis was shorter in patients who had anesthesia and surgery compared with their counterparts who did not undergo these procedures.3,4 So ask if a given procedure is truly essential!

    Tips for Avoiding Hospital Induced Delirium and Dementia

    1. Keep pictures of the person, spouse, children, grandchildren and even pets all over the hospital room. Even put them on the walls. This not only offers familiarity for the person, but helps the (sometimes exhausted) staff see them as people worthy of respect.
    2. Keep comforting and familiar items from home around, like their slippers, mugs, etc.
    3. Get the family 24/7 visiting hours. Catching disorientation early has a very different outcome when done by a family member who can be soothing and reassuring, and has the time and inclination to be so. This also allows the hospitalized person's needs to be met more quickly (like a glass of water or help to the bathroom), while offering socialization and interaction.
    4. If the family doesn't have the "manpower" or resources to have someone there all the time, have the number of a family member/friend that can be called in if disorientation or agitation occurs kept prominently on the wall by the person's bed, with an order to call that person if needed. Again, catching it early before the above vicious cycle gets a foothold is key.
    5. The more severe the illness, the greater the need to encourage family presence.
    6. To the doctors: Most families will be thrilled to have you share these thoughts with them, and have the option of having someone be present outside of visiting hours. For the rare cases where the person seems to have been abandoned, sometimes a reminder that the government will hunt down all the person's assets to pay any nursing home costs, even any assets transferred to others in the last five years: so abandoning the person can cost the family $70,000/yr if they have any hope of an inheritance.
    Other helpful tips?
    1. Have a list of all the person's medications. Over medication can trigger delirium.
    2. Bring their glasses and hearing aids.
    3. Watch for obvious signs like intermittent confusion, that should be a warning to have a family member stay.

    References:

    1. http://www.wndu.com/mmm/headlines/Tips_on_tackling_hospital-induced_delirium_144256245.html
    2. Ibid.
    3. Anesthesia, Surgery May Double Dementia Risk. Medscape.
    4. http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/204/3/188
  • The Early Diagnosis and Treatment of Alzheimer’s

    The Early Diagnosis and Treatment of Alzheimer’s Charles K Bens

    If you ask people what illness they fear most in old age a surprisingly large number will say just one word, Alzheimer's. And yet, if you ask them what they are doing to avoid this dreaded illness a vast majority will give another one word answer, nothing. That is both shocking and surprising because there is actually quite a lot a person can do to prevent Alzheimer's disease. A good starting point is a book by David Perlmutter, MD, entitled Brain Recovery.com. Dr. Perlmutter is a well-known neurologist who specializes in the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer's and many other difficult brain related illnesses. Here are some ideas from Dr. Perlmutter and other scientists and doctors.

    PREVENTION
    • Avoid electromagnetic radiation—EMR disrupts brain cell communication, which prevents brain cells from protecting themselves.
    • Avoid aluminum—Aluminum is a known neurotoxin often found in drinking water and antiperspirants.
    • Avoid high homocysteine levels—Homocysteine is an inflammation protein caused by a deficiency in vitamin B6, B12, folic acid and enzymes.
    • Avoid inflammation—Another blood marker for inflammation is C-reactive protein caused by the lack of sleep, stress, hormone imbalance and eating too many processed or animal foods and not enough vegetables and fruits.
    • Avoid acetaminophen—Acetaminophen is found in many prescription drugs and has been shown to harm brain cells and reduce glutathione levels.
    • Improve nutritional intake—Eat a vegetarian diet with high levels of Omega 3 rich fish included.

    Nutritional supplements can help prevent Alzheimer's.

    DETECTION
    Existing diagnostic tests for Alzheimer's do not detect this illness soon enough to do any good, in most cases. A new test reported in the Journal of Neurological Sciences, from studies done at the University of Florida, used the ability to smell peanut butter as an early detection tool. According to these scientists the left nostril will have less smell detection ability than the right nostril in people who will eventually develop Alzheimer's.

    A NEW TREATMENT
    Scientists at the National Brain Research Centre in Manesar, India have discovered that Honokiol, a Japanese natural medicine derived from the bark of the magnolia tree, slows the inflammation associated with Alzheimer's. Honokiol has antiinflammatory and anti-oxidant capabilities, and is thought to be over 1000 times more powerful than vitamin E. It is also used by many integrated doctors to treat asthma, anxiety, weight gain, intestinal issues and even cancer.

  • Why Choose Organic?

    Why Choose Organic? Elly McGuinness

    You may have heard that ‘going organic’ is a healthy choice for the farmers, the environment, and your own health. But do you really understand why it’s such a positive choice? This article series explores the benefits of choosing organic.

    Reason 1: Glyphosate
    You may be aware that organic food and products are produced without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides or chemicals. Advocates of conventional farming (the type that does allow use of these artificial substances) argue that recommended levels of these chemicals are not exceeded.

    This statement may be true for one chemical in one product but it does not consider the sheer number of potentially toxic chemicals that we are subjected to in modern society—in our food, our water, in the materials we use to make products and clothing, and in the air we breathe.

    A chemical may be tested and found to be safe at a certain level, but it is unlikely that the full cocktail of chemicals contained in a product have been tested. Molecular biologist Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini has demonstrated that the full formulations of pesticides are much stronger than the declared active ingredient. Additionally, the ‘active’ ingredient may not be the most toxic ingredient in pesticide formulations.1

    Coupled with these issues, there is little consideration for variations in sensitivity between individuals, nor for the consequences of being exposed to so many different chemicals over the course of a day, or a lifetime.

    Glyphosate is a chemical under hot discussion in the farming world. Being on the market in the form of the active ingredient in the widely used herbicide Roundup, virtually all conventional produce and food products contain traces of this chemical. As with all subjects of debate, there are many studies that claim Roundup herbicide poses no risk to humans.2

    However, in March 2015 the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic in humans” (category 2A) based on epidemiological studies, animal studies, and in vitro studies.3,4,5

    Advocates for organic farming believe it is wise to err on the side of caution—who wants to risk a build-up of toxic residue that could lead to serious health problems? It is much safer to ban ‘questionable’ chemical ingredients and to find a proven safe alternative than to live by the mantra of ‘innocent until proven guilty.’

    The links between glyphosate and a wide range of health concerns and conditions are becoming increasingly evident. Dr. Stephanie Seneff, a senior research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has found strong links between glyphosate use, and the rise in celiac disease. She explains that the villi in the gut are destroyed by glyphosate, which reduces the person’s ability to absorb vitamins and minerals and can result in gut problems.6

    Glyphosate has been highlighted as a potential endocrine disruptor7 and has shown a strong correlation with the increased incidence of many diseases, from cancer to dementia, to autism.8,9,10 The World Health organization lists the adverse health effects caused by glyphosate as airway, skin, and mucous membrane irritation, abdominal, pain, nausea, vomiting, shock, dyspnea, respiratory failure.11

    For consumers who are not convinced about the safety of food production methods using synthetic chemicals such as glyphosate, the only ways to currently drastically reduce exposure are by choosing certified organic produce and products, growing your own, or by getting food from a local farmer who you know is not using these chemicals.12,13,14

    For those who are not sure how to start shifting from a conventional to an organic diet, or who have concerns around personal budgeting restraints, a good place to start making changes is by focusing on the ‘dirty dozen’— a list of the twelve foods in New Zealand that have been identified as having the highest pesticide residues.

    Reason 2: Healthy soil, healthy body
    Many people are now choosing organic as one way to help optimize their health and wellbeing. The vitamin and mineral content of fresh produce and other foods will vary based on how the soil is cared for, the environment they are grown in, and how they are processed, among other things.

    In organic farming, caring for the soil is of the utmost importance, because it forms the basis for health, for all life forms. As Sophie Grigson and William Black explain, “Healthy soil encourages healthy plants, plants which are strong and disease resistant, which means there is less need for artificial pesticides in organic production.” Their book “Organic—a new way of eating” highlights the fact that if we feed the soil, the plants will look after themselves.15

    Sally Fallon reiterates this in her book “Nourishing Traditions,” when she explains that nitrogen fertilizers used in conventional (non-organic) farming produce high yields, in part by pulling minerals from the soil. In turn, the food suffers because the vitamin and mineral contents are depleted. She explains that vitamin and mineral content between conventional and organic crops can vary hugely, and that some commercially raised oranges have been found to contain NO vitamin C!16

    The old saying ‘you are what you eat’ really does ring true. If you are consuming food that was once a sickly animal who was fed routine courses of antibiotics and a genetically engineered diet of pesticide sprayed grains that it is unable to digest, how healthy do you think you will be?

    If you are eating food that has been sprayed copious times with a herbicide that has been engineered to kill EVERYTHING around it, except that particular crop, how do you think this affects the health of the soil, and the subsequent health of your body? Similarly, with the skin being the largest organ in the body, and readily absorbing anything you rub on it, have you considered what is entering your system via this method (by way of creams and lotions)?

    Yes, our bodies are amazing, and yes they can process and eliminate a certain degree of ‘rubbish.’ But, when they become overloaded they are unable to summon the resources required to neutralize the onslaught of poisons entering them. Therefore it makes sense to limit our intake of toxins wherever we are able to do so; for example by making organic choices.

    Organic farming helps ensure you are receiving the best quality for your body, allowing your cells to be as healthy and strong as possible. Growth hormones, protein rich feeds and the routine use of antibiotics are not allowed, nor are synthetic chemical fertilizers, fungicides, herbicides or pesticides.

    If you consider health as a holistic word encompassing people, animals, and the planet, then choosing organic is a positive step in this direction.

    Endnotes:

    1. “Food Matters – Life matters!” article. Organic NZ magazine. May/June 2015.
    2. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.3109/10408444.2013.770820.
    3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glyphosate.
    4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Agency_for_Research_on_Cancer#IARC_categories.
    5. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/widely-used-herbicide-linked-to-cancer/.
    6. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/09/14/glyphosate-celiacdisease-connection.aspx.
    7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1257596/.
    8. http://www.organic-systems.org/journal/92/JOS_Volume-9_Number-2_Nov_2014-Swanson-et-al.pdf.
    9. https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/monsantos-roundup-enough-make-yousick.
    10. https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/monsantos-sealed-documentsreveal-truth-behind-roundups-toxicological-dangers.
    11. http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/86/3/07-041814-table-T1.html.
    12. https://www.organicnz.org.nz/node/120.
    13. Organic – a new way of eating.” Sophie Grigson and William Black. Headline Book Publishing 2001.
    14. Nourishing Traditions." The Cookbook that challenges politically correct nutrition and the diet dictocrats. Revised second edition. Sally Fallon with Mary G. Enig. Ph.D. 1999, 2001 New trends Publishing Inc.
    15. http://www.foodsafety.govt.nz/policy-law/food-monitoring-programmes/foodact-1981/frsp/documents.htm.
    16. http://www.foodsafety.govt.nz/elibrary/industry/2003_04-Analyses_Environmental.pdf