While many researchers dismiss supplements out of hand when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease, thankfully not all do. The MEND study, conducted a UCLA, concentrates on exercise, mental challenges, diet and supplements for reversing Alzheimer’s. The MEND study was small but the results for reversing Alzheimer’s were impressive. Now, a study at University of Oxford has shown what the scientists view as a groundbreaking treatment for halting Alzheimer’s disease using a combination of Omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins.
This study, conducted over a two year period, found that a combination of B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish prevented brain shrinkage, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s. The specific B vitamins were B6, B12 and folic acid.
Oxford professor David Smith, who leads the study, was quoted in an article published by Express (UK) as saying: "This is a very exciting and important result. It is the first treatment to show Alzheimer’s related brain shrinkage can be prevented. … When people come to a memory clinic there’s nothing now that can help those showing signs of memory loss. Supplementation should be adopted across the NHS [Nation Health Service]."
This study is not the first Oxford study to find evidence supporting B vitamins for Alzheimer’s. In 2013, Professor Smith commented after a different study using these same vitamins, “It’s a big effect, much bigger than we would have dreamt of.”
More news about nutrients and Alzheimer’s
BBC News recently reported on another study, as yet only done on mice, that demonstrated how the destruction of the important nutrient arginine may be responsible for Alzheimer’s. A team at Duke University in Durham, NC has concluded that immune cells in mice attack the amino acid arginine in the brain in a way that may be a trigger for Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers say that their study findings could open up new avenues for a field “that has not developed a single drug to slow the progression of the disease.”
The BBC article said that Duke researchers identified microglia, which is normally the first line of defense against infection in the brain, as "major players" in the development of dementia.
"Some microglia changed to become exceptionally adept at breaking down a component of protein, an amino acid called arginine, in the early stages of the disease. As arginine levels plummeted, the immune cells appeared to dampen the immune system in the brain."
The researchers stated that taking arginine as a supplement may not help since the additional arginine may still be destroyed, but they are searching for an antidote to this auto-immune attack.
The need to find a way to prevent or cure Alzheimer’s is a global problem. Many drug companies are searching for cures that solve the problem of excess Amyloid protein in the brain. However, there is no time to follow one idea through before investigating another.
Simultaneous studies are being sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) because there are many approaches and contradictions as to what may work. The stakes are high. Knowing that there may be a natural way to prevent Alzheimer’s through B vitamins or that a method of preventing the destruction on an amino acid may be possible leaves is encouraging.
Carol is a newspaper columnist and the author of Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories. She runs award winning websites at _ www.mindingourelders.com and_www.mindingoureldersblogs.com. On Twitter, f_ollow Carol @mindingourelder and on Facebook:_ Minding Our Elders
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Carol Bradley Bursack is a veteran family caregiver who spent more than two decades caring for a total of seven elders. She is a newspaper columnist and the author of Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories. Bradley Bursack is also a contributor to several books on caregiving and dementia, and is passionate about preserving the dignity of elders. Her website is www.mindingourelders.com. Follow Carol on Twitter @mindingourelder and on Facebook at Minding Our Elders.