Can Supplements Reduce Your Risk of Alzheimers Disease?
It has been suggested that a dietary deficiency of omega-3 and omega-6 (essential) fatty acids could be a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease. Again, research in this area is preliminary.
Are Supplements Safe?
Buyers should beware that products that are natural are not necessarily safe or good for you. If you do choose to take supplements, use the following chart as a guide. Remember that a healthy diet will provide you with adequate vitamins and minerals.
Recommended Adult Dose
|Vitamin E||22 IU/d (15 mg/d); 1,500 IU (1,000 mg) per day is the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL)*|
|Vitamin C||90 mg/d for men, 75 mg/d for women; the UL is 2,000 mg/d *|
|Beta-carotene||None (Supplements are not advisable at any level)*|
|Gingko||40 to 80 mg 3 times daily**|
|Huperzine A||100 to 200 micrograms (g) twice a day**|
|Vinpocetine||10 mg 3 times per day**|
Other essential nutrients
Carnitine 500 to 1,000 mg 3 times daily** Phosphatidyl serine Up to 100 mg two or three times a day** Choline The Adequate Intake (AI) level is 550 mg/d for men and 425 mg/d for women; the UL is 3.5 g/d* Coenzyme Q10 30 to 300 mg/d** Omega-3 fatty acids The AI is 1.6 g/d for men and 1.1 g/d for women* Omega-6 fatty acids The AI is 17 g/d for men and 12 g/d for women* Folate (folic acid) 400 g/d; the UL is 1,000 g/d* Vitamin B12 2.4 g/d; no UL as been set* *Set by the Institute of Medicine **Suggested intake levels onlybased on typical dosages used in studies Are Supplements Worth it? Clearly, the market for memory enhancers is huge. And, as the population ages, interest in ways to slow or stop the progression of Alzheimers disease will only continue to grow. Unfortunately, since further research is needed, it may be years before the benefits and risks of supplements are fully established. Moreover, supplements are expensive. Some brands could cost you $100 a month or more.
Furthermore, patients and families of AD patients should be sure to talk with their doctors before taking any supplements or over-the-counter medications. In the meantime, consider that by exercising, eating right, and using your mindreading books, playing games, learning a new languageyou will greatly improve your chances of preserving mental acuity. It may not be as simple as popping a pill, but the gains are worth it. RESOURCES: Alzheimers Disease Education and Referral Center http://www.alzheimers.org Food and Drug Administration (FDA) http://www.fda.gov/ National Alzheimers Association http://www.alz.org Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health (NIH) http://ods.od.nih.gov/ References: Alternative Treatments: Buy? Or beware? Alzheimer's Association website. Available at: http://www.alz.org/ResourceCenter/Advances/Winter2000.pdf. Accessed July 30, 2003. Cenacchi T, Bertoldin T, Farina C, Fiori MG, Crepaldi G. Cognitive decline in the elderly: a double-blind, placebo-controlled multicenter study on efficacy of phosphatidylserine administration. Aging (Milano). 1993;5:123-133.
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Morris MS. Homocysteine and Alzheimers disease. Lancet Neurol . 2003;2:425-428. Oken BS, Storzbach DM, Kaye JA. The efficacy of Ginkgo biloba on cognitive function in Alzheimer disease. Arch Neurol . 1998;55:1409-1415. Olney RK. Aminoff MJ, ed. Neurology and general medicine. The Neurology of Aging WB Saunders; 2003. Pettegrew JW, Klunk WE, Panchalingam K, Kanfer JN, McClure RJ. Clinical and neurochemical effects of acetyl-L-carnitine in Alzheimer's disease. Neurobiol Aging . 1995;16:1-4. Sano M, Ernesto C, Thomas RG, Klauber MR, Schafer K, Grundman M, et al. A controlled trial of selegiline, alpha-tocopherol, or both as treatment for Alzheimers disease. N Engl J Med . 1997;336:1216-1222. Solomon PR, Adams F, Silver A, Zimmer J, DeVeaux R. Ginkgo for memory enhancement: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA . 2002;288:835-840. Spagnoli A, Lucca U, Menasce G, et al. Long-term acetyl-L-carnitine treatment in Alzheimer's disease. Neurology . 1991;41:1726-1732.
Thal LJ, Carta A, Clarke WR, Ferris SH, Friedland RP, Petersen RC, et al. A 1-year multicenter placebo-controlled study of acetyl-L-carnitine in patients with Alzheimer's disease. Neurology . 1996;47:705-711. Youdim KA, Martin A, Joseph JA. Essential fatty acids and the brain: possible health implications. Int J Dev Neurosci . 2000;18:383-399. Last reviewed October 2007 by Rimas Lukas, MD Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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