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Mental Health

Alzheimer's Disease: Is There Anything That Can Be Done?

For anyone who has ever had a loved one suffer from this debilitating disease, you know how hard it is on not only the  family, but also the person who is experiencing it. 

Alzheimer's Disease, named after the German scientist who first described it, is not just "getting senile" or being forgetful.  It is a degenerative disease that causes memory loss and impedes the ability to think clearly.  The cause of Alzheimer's is not known, but researchers are now identifying certain dietary measure that may slow the disease.

What is Alzheimer's Disease?

Alzheimer's Disease occurs when certain brain structures prevent communication between other brain cells.  Damage occurs in  those areas of the brain responsible for language and reasoning.

What happens in the brain?

The brain slowly becomes clogged with plaque and tangled nerve fibers that interfere with the functioning of the brain.  Memory loss is one symptom of the disease (but do not think that just because you or someone you love is forgetful, that it is an early sign of Alzheimer's Disease).  

As the disease continues, difficulty performing simple operations,  concentration, disorientation, a lack of physical coordination, and bewilderment becomes apparent.  Some even experience personality changes.

Is there any way to prevent Alzheimer's Disease?

Because no cause has been determined, it is difficult to say for sure what can prevent the disease.  But a few  variables have been identified that could possibly be useful in helping to prevent or slow the disease.

Diet

While research is still limited and findings controversial, it has been said that diet appears to play a limited role in  Alzheimer's prevention.  One theory indicates that memory benefits from lecithin:  a lipid found in eggs.  Another theory indicates that aluminum pans may raise the risk of attaining Alzheimer's, but this theory has been largely discredited.   

Supplements and Nutrients

There are 5 nutrients and supplements that have been identified to possibly help deter or slow Alzheimer's Disease.  They are:

Ginkgo Biloba.  This herb aids blood flow to the brain and may slow the progression in the early stages, sharpen  memory, and boost
concentration.

Vitamin E. This antioxidant may prevent damage to the brain cells due to normal oxidation.  It may also shield the  cells from the effects of a stroke, consequently making Alzheimer's worse.  Some research indicates that this supplement,  taken 400 to 800 IU a day, may slow the diseases progression.  Try supplementing your diet with wheat germ and vegetable oils to get in your Vitamin E.

B Vitamins. These nutrients are important for healthy brain activity. Low levels of B vitamins, especially B6,  are associated with Alzheimer's Disease.  Baked potatoes, liver, and bananas, as well as pork loin and sunflower seeds, may  help to improve memory.

Zinc.  Some studies indicate a buildup of zinc in the brain is associated with Alzheimer's Disease.  What is unknown  is if this excess zinc is due to the diet or from an existing abnormality in the brain.  Doctors and researchers suggest  not limiting the intake of this mineral as of yet, but extra zinc supplements should be avoided.

Acetylcholine.  Alzheimer patients tend to contain unusually low levels of this brain chemical, which is thought to  play a role in learning and memory.  Foods high in lecithin or choline could help to boost this most important brain  chemical.  Try eating eggs, soy, brewers yeast, wheat germ, whole grains, and liver to up your intake.

Alzheimer's Disease is still very much a mystery.  The cause and a cure is unknown. I believe proper nutrition and exercise can help to build a strong, healthy body and, hopefully, limit such diseases such as this.

 
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Nothing on this site is a recommendation as to how to treat any particular disease or health-related condition. You should  not use this site as a substitute for professional medical advice. For serious ailments, or if symptoms persist, you must  see a medical
professional. You should not stop taking prescribed medication without consulting your doctor.

Related Articles
Managing Stress
Alzheimer's Prevention
Brain Foods
Forgiveness
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