Can Antioxidants Reverse or Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease?

  • In my previous blog, I wrote about an encouraging study of a drug called Dimebon. This drug, if approved, may help people with Alzheimer's keep their independence longer.


    Now, according to new findings published in a recent issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, we have another reason to celebrate. The release, found on and titled "Antioxidant Therapy Shows Early Promise Against Alzheimer's Disease - Improved Blood Flow Boosted Cognition And Behavior In Mice With AD-Like Illness," gives hope that there are ways of "shutting off" the damaging effects of free radicals that could even reverse already diagnosed Alzheimer's.

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    The study says, "For the first time, new research demonstrates that curbing harmful antioxidant processes in the brain's vasculature can reverse some of the cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer's disease."


    To me this is powerful. It gives me hope that researchers with alternative approaches to treating disease will increasingly find ways for us to reverse, or even prevent, Alzheimer's disease.


    In a post titled "Vitamin B12, Prevagen, and Other Natural Approaches to Alzheimer's Prevention," I wrote about two naturally occurring substances that are showing promise when it comes to Alzheimer's prevention.


    I smile now (gloat?) over all the attention free-radicals are getting. Back in the 70s, when I was pregnant with my children, I read voraciously about nutrition, whole foods, vitamins and minerals. The guru of natural health at the time was a woman named Adelle Davis. Davis was considered a quack by the bulk of the medical field, and her brash and determined personality was off-putting to some. But one of the many things she wrote about, and which have now been proven, is the harm caused by free radicals. If I'd asked a doctor in the 1970s about free radicals, he would have told me to quit reading those books. Things have changed.


    I now often see, in bold headlines, many of the opinions that Adelle Davis taught all those years ago. She was ahead of her time (I'm not implying, here, that she was 100 percent right on all things, but she was  right about many).


    I certainly haven't always followed Davis' advice. But I have felt that free radical fighting vitamins sounded like a good idea, and her argument was very convincing, so I've followed some of her suggestions.


    One thing that made this National Academy of Sciences press release catch my eye is my location. I live on the North Dakota/Minnesota border. It's well known around here that about ten years ago, a young Minnesota man named Benjamin Baechler, now a practicing physician at the University of Minnesota Hospital who holds a laundry list of degrees and research fellowships, developed a product called Vibe. Vibe is listed in the Physicians Desk Rreference under nutraceuticals and is approved by Consumer's Lab. It is packed with antioxidants and is nearly 100 percent absorbable by the body, because of the molecule size. Could this product prevent or reverse Alzheimer's?  Only time will tell. The company, of course, carefully uses the disclaimer required by the FDA for nutritional products that says "These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease." However, the science behind their product would impress any researcher.


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    I  know that I will continue to take the advice of the brilliant though eccentric Adelle Davis, and take my antioxidants. After checking out the substantial science behind Prevagen, I've also started taking that. I consider this something I can do for my body that will likely help me stay healthier than I would without them (sorry, Adelle, I still like my ice cream cones). I feel that one day the medical community at large will consider nutraceuticals, along with prescriptions drugs, when they decide a patients needs.


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Published On: April 23, 2008