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Nutritional cures for dementia

MagazineApril 1995 (Vol. 6 Issue 1)Nutritional cures for dementia

WDDTY panelist Dr Melvyn Werbach believes that up to a fifth of all dementia in the elderly is reversible, and one large cause is malnutrition or malabsorption, or an inadequate amount of a number of nutrients

WDDTY panelist Dr Melvyn Werbach believes that up to a fifth of all dementia in the elderly is reversible, and one large cause is malnutrition or malabsorption, or an inadequate amount of a number of nutrients. He and other nutritional specialists suggest that anyone with symptoms suggestive of Alzheimer's should:

Have your toxic metal levels tested and, if high, get them removed following the correct protocol for removal and detoxification (see WDDTY Dental Handbook).Eat a varied diet of unrefined whole foods, rich in fresh fruits and vegetables and essential fatty acids, and low in saturated fats. Also get tested for adequate stomach acid and absorption.

Have your doctor check you out for folic acid deficiencies. Low levels of folic acid can cause poor concentration, memory failure and disorientation. Dr Werbach knows of at least one case of a woman whose severe dementia was reversed by folic acid supplementation.

Get a full medical work-up with laboratory tests to rule out nutritional deficiencies.

See if you need niacin (B3) supplementation. Dementia is a classic symptom of niacin deficiency. Dementia caused by deficiency of this nutrient can even be reversed, says Dr Werbach, if niacin levels are normalized.

In AD, enzymes in the brain that are dependent on thiamine may be reduced. Supplementation can prevent further deterioration.

Consider vitamin B12 injections. B12 deficiency is long associated with confusion, memory impairment and other neurological problems. Although a recent study concludes that AD victims had no obvious B12 deficiency, other studies show that supplementation with B12 can be effective even in patients with normal apparent B12 levels and no symptoms of deficiency. This may be either because the tests are inadequate or that absorption in the brain is somehow inadequate. In one 73-year-old woman with beginning AD symptoms but no signs or symptoms of B12 deficiency, intermuscular injections cleared all AD symptoms in three months.

Investigate possible zinc deficiency, which can cause a loss of nerve cells in the brain.

In several double-blind trials the herb ginkgo biloba increased blood flow to the brain and improved brain waves, helping people with dementia to think more clearly.

In preliminary studies, the amino acid tryptophan and the cholinergic nutrients such as phosphatidyl choline have shown some preliminary encouraging results, but longer trials are necessary.


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