Nutrition Health Review

FALL 2017

Nutrition Health Review provides consumers updates on the latest medical research, news, trends, and products in nutrition and healthy living.

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12 N u t r i t i o n H e a l t h Rev i ew 6 Supplements to Fight Alzheimer's Disease 1. Ginkgo Biloba Studies show that taking 240mg of ginkgo biloba daily for six months can stabilize or slow decline in cogniƟon associated with Alzheimer's.¹ While this is good news for people with Alzheimer's, recent reviews of the research suggest there are no notable cogniƟon-enhancing or Alzheimer-prevenƟon capabiliƟes of ginkgo biloba for healthy individuals. 2,3 2. Alpha lipoic acid Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) is a syntheƟc version of lipoic acid, which helps cells make energy. ALA has anƟoxidant properƟes and might reduce inflammaƟon. 4 In healthy individuals, ALA can decrease oxidaƟve damage within the body, damage that has shown to play a key role in the development of Alzheimer's. 5 Clinical research on the supplement is limited, but there are several studies that suggest ALA could be beneficial for people with Alzheimer's. One small study found that paƟents with Alzheimer's taking a combinaƟon of alpha lipoic acid and omega-3 supplementaƟon showed less cogniƟve and funcƟonal decline than paƟents taking a placebo. 6 In addiƟon, another study concluded that ALA alone could be effecƟve in slowing cogniƟve decline for paƟents with Alzheimer's. 7 3. Polyunsaturated Omega-3 faƩy acids Omega-3 faƩy acids are found naturally in foods like salmon, walnuts, and flaxseed oil, but it can also be taken in a capsule supplement, like fish oil or krill oil. One study of healthy individuals showed that eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)-rich omega-3 supplementaƟon resulted in beƩer cogniƟve performance on memory tests and less mental strain during those tests compared to other types of omega-3 supplements, such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). 9 EPA and DHA are two separate types of omega-3 faƩy acids. 8 However, don't ignore DHA just yet—this type of omega-3 faƩy acid comprises 30 to 40 percent of the gray maƩer of the cortex and is needed for normal brain funcƟons like neurotransmission, synapƟc plasƟcity, and vision. 8 PaƟents with Alzheimer's disease might benefit from taking an omega-3 supplement—studies have shown decreased levels of DHA in the brains of paƟents with Alzheimer's compared to healthy individuals of the same age. 10 This suggests DHA deficiency as one possible cause of cogniƟve impairment in people with Alzheimer's. 4. Acetyl L-carniƟne Acetyl-L-carniƟne is an amino acid compound that is made in the brain, liver, and kidneys. 11 One study of paƟents with Alzheimer's showed improvement in short-term memory when paƟents were given acetyl- l-carniƟne, but be aware that these paƟents also experienced nausea as a side effect. 12 In two addiƟonal studies, 1,500mg of acetyl-L-carniƟne resulted in improved memory, mood, and response to stress in elderly paƟents with mild cogniƟve impairment. 13 5. Coenzyme Q10 Coenzyme Q10 is an anƟoxidant that has recently gained aƩenƟon as a beneficial supplement for those with neurodegeneraƟve diseases due to its neuroprotecƟve effects against oxidaƟve stress. 14 There are a handful of studies that support coenzyme Q10 as a therapeuƟc opƟon for cogniƟve impairment. In a study that evaluated the effect that creaƟne (a natural substance aiding in providing muscles with energy) and coenzyme Q10 had on paƟents with Parkinson's disease, researchers saw a slowing in cogniƟve decline, and concluded that this combinaƟon therapy could have a neuroprotecƟve funcƟon. 15 In another study conducted among a Japanese community, deficiency in coenzyme Q10 was associated with a higher risk of Alzheimer's. 16 6. PhosphaƟdylserine PhosphaƟdylserine is a phospholipid that contains both amino acids and faƩy acids. The omega-3 faƩy acids EPA and DHA work together with phosphaƟdylserine to provide the building blocks for healthy membranes. There are a few studies that show potenƟal benefits of phosphaƟdylserine supplementaƟon for Alzheimer's paƟents. One study of 51 paƟents with probable Alzheimer's were treated with 100mg of phosphaƟdylserine for 12 weeks. The paƟents receiving the phosphaƟdylserine showed an improvement on cogniƟve measures when compared

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