While teasing one another that we’ve lost our mind may be funny, the literal experience of losing your mind to dementia is not likely as entertaining.
However, the rates continue to increase at a startling rate and no hope is in sight for a cure. Some pharmaceutical companies have even given up the fight to find a cure because the failures have been too expensive.
The ability to prevent dementia with lifestyle, however, is very solidly proven in the medical research. This may include higher education (or, in lieu of a degree, continual challenging your brain by reading this blog several times through on a daily basis), exercise, a plant based diet and maintaining an anti-diabetic lifestyle.
Personally, I do not feel that we will ever find a cure for Alzheimer’s dementia or Parkinson’s disease (the other neurodegenerative disorder that shares many of the same underlying damage to the brain). By the time a diagnosis is made, the brain has lost a very large chuck (upwards of 70%) of the cells in the affected region. In other words, it’s a freight train moving at a high rate of speed.
I do, however, believe that we can slow the freight train down, even if it’s just a little bit. Antioxidants like CoQ10, magnesium threonate and n-acetyl cysteine (NAC) may play a role here. Another very powerful antioxidant for the brain is vitamin E.
I have an entire eBook dedicated to vitamin E (that can be found by clicking here) and the benefits it has been shown to have on the heart and brain. This particular study supports vitamin E’s ability to protect the brain yet again and compares it to the effects of memantine (aka Namenda—one of the newest classes of drugs used to treat Alzheimer’s dementia). Here are the details:
- Researchers looked at 613 patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s dementia who were already taking drugs for Alzheimer’s dementia (acetylcholinesterase inhibitor).
- Participants took either 2000 IU/day of alpha tocopherol, 20 mg/d of memantine, both of these or a placebo for an average of 2.27 years.
- ADCS-ADL (Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study/Activities of Daily Living) scores declined by 3.15 units less in the alpha tocopherol group compared with the placebo group, who showed greater declines in the scores over the time of the study). This corresponded to 19% slower decline, or about 6.2 months delay in cognitive decline.
- Caregiver time increased the least in the alpha tocopherol group (about 2 hours less).
While these changes aren’t life altering, this is still a very powerful advantage from something as simple, safe and inexpensive as vitamin E. I must, however, interject that the form used here, alpha-tocopherol, is definitely not the most potent of the vitamin E family to be using to protect your brain. This honor goes to gamma-tocopherol, the form of vitamin E found more often in nature (such as in nuts and seeds).
It makes me wonder just how much stronger the results of the study would have been had the researchers used a mixed tocopherol product high in gamma tocopherol…