~Alzheimer's Disease, Part 6 - Summary

Summary

The incidence of Alzheimer's disease is increasing at an alarming rate along with the aging of our population. The vast majority of Alzheimer's disease is acquired or classified as idiopathic (of unknown cause) by conventional medicine. There is much discussion about the cause of Alzheimer's disease and many consider that Alzheimer's disease may not be caused by a single agent. The causes discussed here encompassed many diverse medical theories, including the biochemistry of acetylcholine and neurotransmitters, inflammation, oxidative stress and free radicals, and homocysteine. Recent advances in lab testing may help identify the key areas on which to focus the therapies.

One interesting study showed that persons who had a love of reading and read frequently in childhood had a very decreased incidence of Alzheimer's disease. Regularly engaging in mental activity is necessary for preservation of brain function.

Most of the medical treatments listed here are used only after Alzheimer's disease develops. Some, such as folic acid, vitamin B12, and antioxidants, are important in preventing dementia also.

Treatment Protocols

There are a vast number of choices in both drugs and nutritional supplements available for patients with Alzheimer's disease. A well-informed holistic or naturopathic medical doctor can be of great help in ordering the appropriate lab tests and identifying the key supplements that will provide the greatest benefit. The following are several of the supplements and drugs that have been covered in this protocol along with standard daily dosages:

Acetylcholine Support
  • Take a daily supplement of a choline-based multinutrient formula called Cognitex
  • An additional 10 grams a day of soy lecithin may be considered


Antioxidants

Anti-inflammatory

Homocysteine Reduction

Neuronal Protection

Inhibit Glycation
  • Carnosine, 1000 mg a day (minimum) should be considered


Based upon the results of appropriate lab testing (see the lab section at the beginning of this protocol), the following may be used in addition:

  • Hormone replacement therapy, preferably with natural forms of progesterone, testosterone, and estrogen.

  • DHEA supplementation. The usual dose is 15-50 mg in females and 50-75 mg in males.


Innovative Drug Strategies Can Include the Following

  • Hydergine, 10-20 mg daily

  • Piracetam, 2400-4800 mg daily

  • Deprenyl, 5 mg, twice weekly


Drug-Supplement Interactions

  • Ginkgo acts to thin the blood by reducing the ability of platelets (blood-clotting cells) to stick together. Care should be used when using ginkgo with other agents that thin the blood, such as heparin, warfarin, aspirin, and some NSAIDs (Harkness et al. 2000).

  • Vitamin E has a long history of safe use. Vitamin E may add to the blood thinning effect of aspirin and cause an increased risk of bleeding. Care should be taken when taking aspirin with vitamin E (Harkness et al. 2000).

  • Vitamin K directly counteracts the action of warfarin. Patients taking warfarin should seek qualified medical advice before taking vitamin K (Harkness et al. 2000).

  • EPA and DHA have been shown to inhibit abnormal clotting in blood vessels. Care should be used with those taking anticoagulant medications such as warfarin.


The Life Extension Foundation has designed several products specifically for neurological support. These include:

  • Cognitex contains phosphatidycholine, phosphatidylserine, vinpocetine, and pregnenolone. It is available with and without pregnenolone. Take 5 capsules in the morning and 5 in the evening.

  • Mitochondrial Energy Optimizer contains acetyl-L-carnitine, alpha-lipoic acid, carnosine, and zinc.

  • CDP choline is a unique form of choline that readily passes through the blood-brain barrier directly into brain tissue where it enhances cerebral energy metabolism.

  • Life Extension Foundation offers several forms of ginkgo biloba, including Super Ginkgo Extract.

  • The Life Extension Mix has a wide variety of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

  • Essential Fatty Acids are available from several oils. Super EPA/DHA w/ Sesame Lignans & Olive Fruit Extract will help to control inflammation by balancing essential fatty acid intake.


For more information contact the Alzheimer's Association (800) 272-3900.


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