MEN’S HEALTH: Natural Options for Alzheimer’s Prevention

mh-12.jpgAlzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging. With a little understanding of the condition, you can take effective natural steps to prevent its onset and preserve men’s health.

One of the greatest concerns for aging men’s health how to avoid the devastating effects of memory loss and disorientation known as Alzheimer’s disease (AD). First described in 1906 by psychiatrist Alois Alzheimer, it’s typified by a gradual loss of memory and language skills, progressing to a generalized decline of all cognitive functions. It currently affects 3-5% of those over 65 and up to 20% of those over 85. Over 4 million are now diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and that number is expected to triple by 2050. There is no ‘cure,’ but prevention is possible.

Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging, and steps can be taken to reduce your chance of succumbing to its progressive decline.

There appears to be a genetic predisposition worsened by environmental factors, diet and lifestyle. Amyloid plaques slowly spread in the brain, losing the neuronal connections, while the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, and blood flow, are reduced. Chronic inflammation accentuates the damage — impossible to reverse.

Prevention is key.

Obesity, smoking, advanced age, exposure to aluminum or mercury, high cholesterol and high homocysteine levels are the risk factors. Getting exercise, consuming dietary antioxidants and having a low body-mass index greatly reduce risk, even if you’re predisposed to Alzheimer’s.

What specifically can you do?

  • Keep a low body mass through a calorie-restricted, low carbohydrate diet rich with antioxidants. Consume 5-7 flavonoid-rich fruits or vegetables a day. Caloric restriction and reduction of inflammation are vital. A 30% calorie-restricted diet has been shown to prevent Alzheimer’s by breaking down the amyloid-peptides before they become plaques.
  • Exercise regularly. Those who are physically inactive have four times the risk of developing dementia. Exercise moderately daily.
  • Supplement your diet with coenzyme Q10, vitamins C and E, resveratrol, lecithin, phosphatidylserine, folate (a B vitamin), and lots of omega-3 fats (dementia patients have 40% less DHA — which comes from the omega-3 fats) than healthy adults).
  • Avoid exposure to aluminum and mercury, both of which are implicated in inducing Alzheimer’s. Amyloid plaques are associated with lifetime exposure to aluminum and/or mercury, which make their way into the brain. Liquid antacids are easily-absorbed aluminum hydroxide and increase risk of Alzheimer’s by 300%! Antiperspirants contain aluminum. Dental amalgams and flu shots/vaccines contain mercury (as thimerosal), as do some fish.
  • Ginkgo biloba is proven to delay the onset of mental impairments. In a three-year study, reliably taking ginkgo supplements slowed degeneration, reducing memory problems in the elderly by 68%. An Italian study, published in European Journal of Neurology, concluded that ginkgo biloba works as well as any drug to treat mild to moderate forms of Alzheimer’s. Researchers at Oxford concluded that use of ginkgo is not only safe, but also has the benefit of no excessive side effects.
  • Maintain mental stimulation. Learn new things constantly. Take classes, read books, go to museums.

Memory loss and cognitive decline is not an inevitable part of men’s health. You can take steps to avoid Alzheimers and live a long, productive life with great memories.

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