Using Vitamins to Prevent Alzheimer’s

Understanding what happens when an individual develops Alzheimer’s is still something that is being investigated. What scientists do know about Alzheimer’s is that it is a slow-developing disease of the brain that is characterized by dying brain cells. While the direct cause is unknown, it is theorized that the death of the cells is attributed to a lack of chemicals necessary to keep brain cells healthy.

After the age of 20, human brain cells (neurons) start to die at a rate of about 9000 per day. This results in a natural decline of mental acuity. There are reports that some vitamins can help to restore brain cells, but these reports are highly controversial. Once brain cells die, there really is no way to restore them. What scientists focus on is how to prevent Alzheimer’s. In the last few years, scientists have been testing the effects of vitamins on the brain. Those that seem to provide the most benefit are vitamins C and E.

In the world of vitamin supplementation, vitamin C and E are building blocks of good health. These vitamins are antioxidants that has proven beneficial in numerous health conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and stress. The body normally produces enough vitamin C and E in the body to protect the brain from damage from free radicals. However, the amount of vitamin C may be depleted by factors, such as diet and genetics. Scientists believe that taking 500 milligrams of vitamin C and 500 milligrams of vitamin E daily protects brain cells from premature destruction, a key to Alzheimer’s prevention.

These recommended amounts of vitamin C and E supplementation to prevent Alzheimer’s is way beyond what is recommended for general health. Before you consider taking these vitamins, you should discuss your plans with a medical doctor. Excessive amounts of vitamin C are flushed out in the urine and don’t usually cause serious problems, but excessive amounts of vitamin E can result in some unpleasant side effects. As with any vitamins or medication, you should store them in a location that is out of reach from children. Vitamins C and E can cause serious problems in children.

Discover The New Science Of Glyconutrition And Fibromyalgia

I have worked with a number of people who once suffered from the symptoms of Fibromyalgia or from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are two similar disorders with overlapping symptoms. They include chronic fatigue, sleep disturbances, immune system dysfunction and psychological depression. People with Fibromyalgia also experience muscle and fibrous tissue pain, as well as gastro intestinal challenges. The cause or causes of Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are unclear and some regard them as syndromes rather than actual diseases. Therefore, established medical treatments are based on the management of individual symptoms and can often be a game of cat and mouse for the medical professional.

With such complexities it is easy to understand why the role of nutrition in Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has largely been overlooked. However since we now understand the importance of dietary components like glyconutrients (Mannose, Fucose, Galactose, Glucose, Xylose, N-Acetylgalactosamine, N-Acetylglucosamine and Sialic Acid) in regulating the immune, nervous, muscular systems as well as cell-to-cell communication in general, it is apparent that the biological activities of such nutritional components may play a significant role in maintaining proper function of those systems.

Also associated with these two conditions is an abnormal sleep pattern. Any number of gland failures resulting in hormonal imbalance may influence this. As sleep is a function regulated by a number of hormonal factors, nutritional support of glyconutrients as well as certain plant sterols may provide benefit in this area by supporting improved production and coordination of key hormones.

Some studies have shown possible linkages of viral and bacterial infections, such as Herpes, Coxsackie B and Lyme disease, to Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The reason for this is that many of the symptoms are closely associated with that of an active infection. There is also a high association with the diagnosis of either of the conditions and a positive test for one or more of these pathogens.

Other scientific evidence also suggests that Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are related to immune system dysfunctions based on measurements of various immune markers in patients with these disorders. This can be measured in levels and activity of Natural Killer Lymphocytes, Cytokines such as Interleukin as well as other immune system factors. Through the measure of this activity, some studies have suggested that these two conditions may be autoimmune in nature. Whether or not they are, it is apparent that support of proper immune system function through improved nutrition can bring benefits to those suffering from any of the effects of these conditions. For example, acemannan, has been shown to enhance the killing activity of Macrophage against Candida Albicans, and can be found in certain glyconutrient supplements.

Regardless of the precise mechanisms in Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome it should be apparent from the review of scientific and medical literature that all systems of the body are intimately involved in the syndrome. Proper dietary support for the cells from which these systems are composed calls for appropriate levels of a range of micronutrients. This is not limited to mere vitamins and minerals, but may also involve other categories of so-called phytonutrients including anti-oxidants, plant sterols and glyconutrients.

How Are Antioxidants Linked to Anti-Aging?

Antioxidants have been widely praised in the media. Many know they are linked with anti-aging properties. However this is not new, it all began with one man’s theory a half a century ago about how free radicals were associated with aging, and science has been trying to catch up with it ever since.

As Dr. Nicholas Perricone, M.D., states in his 2001 book, “The Wrinkle Cure”: “When it comes to aging, it’s not Father Time that’s public enemy number 1. It’s the very busy, very nasty little molecule called the free radical.”

The Free Radical Theory of Aging was published by Denman Harman in 1956. He theorized that aging is a result of free radical damage of the cells of the body. This is also called oxidative stress.

Today, a great deal of experimental evidence supports the premise that length of life is determined by the crucial balance of antioxidants with free radicals in the body. Oxidative stress is being shown to be at the root of disease and aging.

One example is that the life of the fruit fly was up to 30% longer when it was genetically altered with an addition of enzymatic antioxidants. Not only that, but the altered fruit flies also showed a reduced amount of age-related oxidative damage.

Studies of humans have also shown evidence of free radical damage playing a large part in human aging. One 1996 study compared markers of free radical damage in the blood and found evidence of the highest oxidative damage associated with the disabled elderly, an intermediate amount with the healthy elderly, and the lowest levels with the healthy adults.

The study also found that higher blood levels of antioxidant Vitamins C and E were associated with less disability, and signs of free radical damage were associated with more disability.

We need to rethink our concept of aging. We accept disease, disability, senility, wrinkles, and all the other many signs of aging as natural. Instead, we should view this as ‘unsuccessful aging’ – ie., aging associated with deterioration, disease and disability.

Successful aging is what happens when the human body is able to fight off oxidative stress, and continue to regenerate and repair itself. Successful aging is getting older healthily, without significant pathological conditions.

What the evidence is telling us is that it is crucial we take antioxidants and free radicals very seriously if we want to ‘age gracefully’ and avoid the many pitfalls of ‘unsuccessful aging’.

Even young people can be victims of unsuccessful aging, if they are not providing their bodies with the necessary balance of having have enough dietary antioxidants to fight off the free radicals.

In our modern culture, many of us are guilty of not getting adequate nutrition. It’s ironic, when we are the richest we have ever been that we should be feeding our bodies so poorly.

An interesting example of how a person can seriously damage their body with the wrong diet was seen in the Documentary ‘Super Size Me’ by Morgan Spurlock who ate only McDonald’s for a month. In just 30 days of having a junk food diet as his sole source of nutrition, his health was spiraling downwards and out of control.

The fact that he gained 25 pounds in a month was the least of his worries. He experienced a toxic liver, a significant increase in cholesterol, headaches, depression, a lower sex drive and poor skin. He returned to normal after his experiment ended.

Unfortunately a great many of us continue to do damage to our bodies, by smoking cigarettes, drinking coffee, eating junk food, and not eating our vegetables. When the media began warning us of free radicals, many of us did not understand the massive damage we were causing our bodies or how to prevent it, especially as most of the signs of damage are invisible until it is too late.

Free radical damage is accumulative and spreads like wildfire over time. Do your body a favor. Feed it a diet rich in antioxidant nutrition. Make it a habit, eat your fruits and vegetables, take your vitamins, and try to stop or cut down on damaging bad habits. You will thank yourself in 20 years.

Use antioxidants wisely to age successfully. Maybe like the fruit fly, you too can live 30% longer.