Reversing Mental Decline and Preventing Alzheimer’s, Part 1 You saw a movie last week and in discussing it with friends simply can’t remember the important parts. Plus you just missed another appointment. Planning to drive to a north suburb, you instead got on the southbound expressway and after 15 minutes of Loop traffic realized your […]
We’ve always known there was a higher rate of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias in women than in men, initially attributed to the fact that women live longer and that the decline in mental function occurred with age. This turned out to be wrong. At 65, a woman has a greater than one-in-six chance of […]
Quite some time ago during my internal medicine residency, articles began to appear in medical journals advancing the idea that stomach ulcers might be caused by bacteria. Mainly, I remember how dismissive most gastroenterologists were of this idea. “It is utterly impossible,” said one lecturer, “that any bacteria could survive in the intense acidity of […]
Immediate answer: The newest research shows that your own impression of your memory–not anyone else’s, and not any particular test–could be the very first sign of mental decline as you age. Longer answer: We all have episodes of forgetfulness no matter how old we are. Ask any high school senior confronted with the SAT vocabulary […]
It’s fairly common, actually. You walk into a room suddenly befuddled, wracking your brain, desperate to remember just why you came to this room in the first place. Or you’re telling someone about a movie you just saw the night before, really enjoyed, and now you’re clawing at your cerebral cortex trying to extricate the title, the actor, the name of the theatre.
Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, or NADH, is a coenzyme made from Vitamin B2, or niacin. It’s present in all living cells. As a coenzyme, NADH serves an important role in helping enzymes to function as they should. (An Enzyme is a Protein that works like a catalyst in the body to prompt chemical changes in other substances; breaking down food into energy is an example.) Most coenzymes are synthesized from vitamins, and for optimal energy production, the body needs good amounts of them. The coenzyme, NADH, is no exception.
For centuries in the Far East, traditional healers have used a rare moss (Huperzia serrata) found in the colder regions of China to remedy fever and Inflammation. Only recently did scientists uncover a remarkable quality in a substance they isolated in the moss. Called huperzine A, the compound appears to have the power to sharpen the mind and potentially ward off the devastating effects of the memory-robbing disease known as Alzheimer’s, particularly in its earliest stages. Huperzine A has also been proposed for countering normal bouts of forgetfulness in the general population.
The minerals zinc and copper can be purchased as single products, but there’s good reason to consider a combination product that pairs the two.
Zinc blocks the absorption and enhances the excretion of copper when taken over time. So, when zinc is recommended long term (over many months) for any condition–from arthritis to prostate problems or even Alzheimer’s–it’s important to get some copper as well. A combination product will help prevent a copper deficiency and the anemia that can develop as a result.
Scientists identified vitamin E about 80 years ago, but only in the past few decades has its power as an antioxidant been revealed and fully appreciated. What this means is that you’ll have to get far more than the government-established RDA for this vitamin to benefit from its ability to stave off disease and enhance overall health. Unfortunately, most foods containing vitamin E–nuts, vegetable oils and margarine, for example–are high in fat. So to get the protective punch of vitamin E without adding fats to your diet, you need to seriously consider taking supplements.
A high-quality vitamin B complex supplement will provide, in one convenient pill, a full range of B vitamins, including biotin, choline, folic acid, inositol, PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid), and the six “numbered” B vitamins–vitamin B-1 (thiamin), B-2 (riboflavin), B-3 (niacin), B-5 (pantothenic acid), B-6 (pyridoxine), and B-12 (cobalamin). Combination products can simplify the process of taking individual B vitamins for a range of ailments including alcoholism, depression, diabetes, hair problems, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and stress.
Vinpocetine is a derivative of an extract taken from the lesser periwinkle plant (Vinca minor), an evergreen undershrub. The shrub is native to Europe, where it has been been under examination since the 1950s for boosting stroke- and age-related decline in brain function. Only recently has vinpocetine become available in the United States, and not as a prescription drug like in Europe, but as an over-the-counter dietary supplement.
What Is It? Famed as an energy tonic in China since ancient times, Siberian ginseng only gained recognition in the West in the 1950s, when a Russian scientist (I. I. Brekhman) reported its notable stress-repelling powers. Healthy men and women taking the herb were found to better endure physical strain, resist disease, and perform tests […]
Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a phospholipid, a type of fat found in every cell in the body. It is particularly concentrated in the brain, where it has the important task of keeping cell membranes fluid, flexible and primed for nutrient absorption. PS also plays a critical role in supporting nerve tissue; it aids proper release and reception of neurotransmitters in the brain, for example. In short, PS helps to keep memory-related pathways functioning smoothly.
Found growing in hot, swampy regions around the world, from India to the southern United States, the herb gotu kola (Centella asiatica) has a storied past.
This popular herbal medicine is extracted from the fan-shaped leaves of the ancient ginkgo biloba tree, a species that has survived in China for more than 200 million years and now grows throughout the world. (The leaves are double, or bi-lobed; hence the name biloba.) Long used in traditional Chinese medicine, it is only in the last few decades that the medicinal uses for the herb have been studied in the West.
Evening primrose oil is extracted from the evening primrose plant (Oenothera biennis), a wildflower found in North America, Europe and parts of Asia. The plant’s pale yellow flowers open in the evening–hence its common name–and its seeds bear the special fatty oil that is used in healing today.
One of the world’s most popular supplements, the chemical coenzyme Q10 has generated great excitement as a heart disease remedy and a cure for countless other conditions. The body naturally produces this compound, which has been dubbed “vitamin Q” because of its essential role in keeping all systems running smoothly. In fact, the scientists who identified coenzyme Q10 in 1957 initially honored its ubiquitous presence–it’s found in every human cell and in all living organisms–by naming it “ubiquinone.” Small amounts are also present in most foods.
Carotenoids are the pigments that color some fruits and vegetables red, orange and yellow. Recent research has shown that, acting as antioxidants, these natural plant compounds can boost the immune system and possibly lower the risk of heart disease, prevent the onset of some cancers, and protect against such age-related diseases as cataracts and macular degeneration.
Carnitine is an amino acid-like compound that helps the body produce energy. While readily abundant in meats and dairy foods, some people take carnitine in supplement form to increase vitality. Carnitine transports fatty acids to the “factory” portion of cells, which then convert the fat into energy that the heart, muscles, and other body tissues can use.
From its bristly stems to its blue star-shaped flowers, virtually all parts of the borage plant (Borago officinalis) have been used over the centuries for their healing properties and as a flavoring for foods. As early as the 1600s, Europeans mixed borage leaves and flowers into a wine that was renown for relieving boredom and dispelling melancholy.