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Nutrients May Prevent Alzheimer's Disease

By: Corinna Underwood - Updated: 3 Jul 2013 | comments*Discuss
Alzheimer's Disease Preventing

Alzheimer's disease is a form of dementia, which means a serious deterioration in several mental functions, such as memory, language, orientation and judgement. Dementia is a major cause of ill-health, with approximately 6 million sufferers in the European Union and 800,000 in the UK. Alzheimer's disease is the commonest cause of dementia, accounting for about 65% of dementia in the elderly. In some cases of Alzheimer's disease, mental decline may occur relatively rapidly whilst in others the loss of cognitive ability may be more gradual. Alzheimer's disease shortens the life span and, although patients may live for as many as 15 years after diagnosis, the average period to death (usually from an infection) is about 8 years.

What is Alzheimer's Disease?

Alzheimer's disease is not an inevitable part of aging. The symptoms of Alzheimer's disease are caused by a loss of nerve cells in certain regions of the brain, principally the cerebral cortex, the part that controls our higher mental functions. The degeneration of these nerve cells leads to a loss of millions of the connections (synapses) between nerve cells; it is the loss of connections in the part of the brain dealing with memory (medial temporal lobe; see diagram) that causes the first symptoms. The disease progresses and spreads throughout the cerebral cortex, gradually affecting those parts of the cortex that deal with almost all our other higher cognitive functions and our behaviour. There is currently no cure for Alzheimer's, because it is a progressive degenerative disease of the nervous system.

Nutrients That May Help Prevent Alzheimer's Disease

B vitamins, particularly folic acid and vitamin B-12, help prevent Alzheimer's as well as a host of other diseases such as heart disease and stroke. Studies show that a diet rich in folic acid may be able to repair damage to the DNA of nerve cells in the hippocampus (an area needed for memory and learning). Foods rich in B vitamins include whole grains, yeast, meat, low-fat dairy products, lentils and leafy greens.

Vitamin E
Diets rich in vitamin E and essential oils may help prevent Alzheimer's disease. A study recently reported in the Archives of Neurology found that participants, aged 65-102, who ate fish at least once each week showed 36% less decline in cognitive functioning over the study's three or more years. Other studies have shown that people who eat fish most often are only one-third as likely to develop Alzheimer's Disease as those who ate fish least often. Vitamin C, a less potent antioxidant than vitamin E, circulates within the plasma and retains the additional function of restoring vitamin E to its antioxidant capacity.

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For those who can't eat fish, taking omega 3 capsules can help and fish oil, too. These give many of the benefits associated with eating fish but without having to actually digest fish. Vitamin C is, as said, proven to help, but each month there seem to be new discoveries that can stall, if not prevent Alzheimer's. These are all important, and people should make themselves aware of the, then follow what's suggested. It really can make a huge difference.
Cathy - 14-Jun-12 @ 1:07 PM
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