Dementia? Don’t Give Up!
HOW TO STAY OUT OF THE NURSING HOME
It’s one of the biggest breakthroughs in Alzheimer’s research in years——and odds are, you won’t hear a peep about it from your own doctor.
That’s because it’s not a drug.
It’s not marketed by Big Pharma, doesn’t come with a multi-year patent, isn’t available by prescription and it certainly won’t make anyone rich.
But that’s good news, because that means this miraculous and life-changing (not to mention life-saving) compound is available to everyone, everywhere——and it’s dirt-cheap.
It’s vitamin E!
Yes, my friend, this ordinary vitamin may turn out to be one of the most potent weapons on the planet against one of the worst parts of Alzheimer’s disease.
In this case, it’s not the memory loss. It’s the functional decline that comes along for the ride——the downward spiral that leads to loss of independence and, eventually, that long, slow one-way journey to a nursing home.
But as the new study shows, high doses of vitamin E can put that journey on hold——because this essential nutrient can slow functional decline by about 6 months over two years when compared to both a placebo AND a top-selling dementia med memantine.
That’s the equivalent of keeping one major skill that otherwise would have been lost during that time——critical skills such as being able to get dressed, bathing and being trusted to take care of yourself much of the time instead of being treated like a drooling infant.
As a result, patients in the new study given E needed two fewer hours of care per day. And when you need less care, you’re far more likely to remain independent and OUT of the nursing home.
Now, I realize in desperate times it may be tempting to consider using everything, all at once, hoping something will work. In this case, you might be tempted to mix the vitamin E with the memantine.
The study finds combining the two will lead to no benefit at all. It’s as if the drug somehow blocks the effects of the vitamin E (surprise, surprise).
Vitamin E didn’t help with loss of memory and cognition, but make no mistake about it: This is a massive scientific breakthrough, because the functional decline that accompanies Alzheimer’s is as big a component of the disease as the memory loss.
In some ways, it may be worse——because functional decline, not memory loss, is what usually leads to a “care” facility. And that’s when the downward spiral of the disease REALLY kicks in.
When family comes to visit (sadly, in too many cases, if they even bother visit), they may think “well, guess we got Uncle Albert tucked away in here just in time——looks like the poor old fellow’s disease is getting worse.”
Bull. It’s getting worse all right, but it’s not because of the disease. It’s because of the so-called “care” facility.
Most of these pits deliver the exact opposite of care. Instead of the TLC proven to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s, these homes deliver drugs——and lots of them——to keep the inmates… errr, patients… docile, compliant and easy to care for.
If Uncle Albert is staring at the wall and drooling, it’s not because his disease has gotten worse. It’s because he’s so high on the drugs they’ve been shoving down his throat he’ll need a parachute to come back down.
Even worse, the antipsychotic drugs commonly given to dementia patients in nursing homes are proven to do nothing for the disease and can DOUBLE the risk of death (and that’s a conservative number).
That’s why it’s critical to keep Uncle Albert out of that home——why it’s critical to keep yourself out——as long as you can, and that means vitamin E at the first sign of dementia (or even sooner, if you’re at risk).
But don’t stop there. Vitamin E is clearly an important piece of the puzzle, but that’s all it is——one piece.
If you really want to slow or even stop functional decline, you need more. You need my…
THREE KEYS TO INDEPENDENCE
Ok, I already told you about vitamin E, so technically you’re getting four keys. But there are three other safe, common and widely available nutrients that could prevent, slow or even reverse that devastating decline in function.
Naturally, they’re three things you’ve been told to avoid.
KEY # 1: Fats for your brain
The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish as well as grass-fed meats and dairy are critical to heart function. You know that. But these fats, found in so many so-called forbidden foods, are also essential to one of the most important balls of fat in your entire body: your brain.
In one major study, omega-3 supplements were shown to slow functional decline when compared to placebo pills. The researchers in that study used relatively low doses——just 675 mg of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and 975 mg of EPA per day. Get more, and you’ll almost certainly get a bigger benefit.
By the way, the same study found that adding 600 mg per day of alpha lipoic acid can help slow cognitive decline. And I’ll give you just one guess where you’ll find loads of alpha lipoic acid.
Yes, you’ll find plenty in supposedly unhealthy foods such as delicious red meat and organ meat (so much for unhealthy).
KEY #2: Catch some rays
If you’re worried about function, balance and strength——and, let’s face it, if you’re getting up there in years, you’d be crazy if you’re not at least a little concerned——then you need vitamin D, and lots of it.
Vitamin D can help prevent falls and the crippling breaks that come with them. In seniors in general and dementia patients in particular, those falls can steal your independence and land you in a nursing home so fast it’ll make your head spin.
The best way to get D of course is to spend as much time as you can outdoors in the sunshine (and when you do, forget those toxic sunscreens and apply some common sense instead; seek shade right when you start to turn pink and you’ll be fine).
Not coincidentally, studies have shown that dementia patients allowed outside in the sun each day do better than patients cooped up inside.
Since you can’t be sure how much D you’re getting from sun alone, take a supplement, too. If you’re largely healthy, you need a minimum of 2,000 IUs per day. If you or a loved one is fighting a disease such as dementia, you’ll need more——between two and five times more. Speak to your doctor.
KEY #3: Booze it up
Yes, I know, booze might sound like a quick path to falling apart——or at least falling down the stairs, hurting yourself, and ending up in that “care” facility anyway.
But I’m not talking about getting sloppy drunk here. A moderate drinking habit——a tipple or two a night——not only could help prevent dementia, but it’s actually proven to ward off some of the worst signs of aging, including that dreaded functional decline I talked about earlier.
One major study of more than 3,000 70-somethings found that moderate drinkers had the lowest overall risk of mobility disability and mobility limitations when compared to nondrinkers and heavy drinkers.
But remember this is a preventive step. Don’t wait until you’re already facing a battle with Alzheimer’s. Feeding booze to a dementia patient is just a bad idea.
So there you have it: the key to beating the decline——and staying OUT of the nursing home——is in doing pretty much everything you’ve been told not to do. So get to it——boost your fat intake. Get out and enjoy some sunshine. Take your vitamin E. And pour yourself a drink.
Your health, your independence and your life are all at stake.