The Alzheimer Epidemic

Sadly, the incidence of this debilitating condition, where our loved ones slowly lose their memories and ability to cope with everyday life, is rising in the Western world. It has been calculated that by 2050, over 16 million Americans will be suffering from this incurable condition. There have been few, if any, answers offered to slow this epidemic, and health researchers are very worried.

• Vitamin C and Vitamin E supplements: these supplements can make a difference. In a study performed at Johns Hopkins University Medical School, 4,700 people aged over 65 years were studied for 4 years. At the start of the study, those taking more than 500mg vitamin C and 400iu of vitamin E as supplements had 75% less Alzheimer’s disease. When they were reviewed after four more years more of these people had developed Alzheimer’s disease but those still taking these supplements had 64% less disease. Interestingly, vitamins from fruit and vegetables did not appear to have the same protective benefit (possibly because the vitamin content of modern produce is so poor).
• Mercury amalgams: many people believe that the toxic effects of mercury fillings placed in our teeth may be adding to the Alzheimer epidemic. Some people with a specific genetic marker (apo-E4) appear to be at much greater risk. Unless mercury is very carefully removed the dose entering the brain can be increased, so great care is needed here. For children, take them to a dentist who does not use mercury fillings.

All of the studies discussed above show the power of good nutrition, from good food and supplementation, in preventing many of today’s disease – a power far greater than any drug or other available “traditional” therapies.

These trials have shown that:

• Antioxidant vitamins (C and E) benefit coronary heart disease, cancer, cataracts, Alzheimer’s disease.
Multivitamins (B vitamins) can reduce heart attacks and cancer.
• Fish oils can reduce heart attacks, cardiac arrest, stroke, cancer.
• Minerals can help high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.

Modern medicine has become highly specialized, we have different drugs for all our different systems. So we tend to regard each system – like the heart – as one entity, to be treated without much consideration to other systems. Yet when we consider that all our cells need similar nutrition, and that nutritional deficiency and excess production of free radicals cause or aggravate many different diseases, then it is not surprising that the same regimen is beneficial for many of these.

To reduce the risk of developing all these diseases, we recommend that everyone eats a diet as good and as varied as possible, but also takes on a daily basis a good multivitamin / multimineral (including selenium in areas where it is low), and omega 3 fish oils.

We are not alone in recommending this – a top medical journal now advocates the use of vitamins:

In a paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Drs Fletcher and Fairfield, who wrote the JAMA nutritional guidelines, confirm that Americans are not consuming enough nutrients in their diet. We believe this statement holds true for all nations.

The researchers recommended that doctors talk to their patients about using vitamins. They reviewed over 30 years of articles concerning the effects of vitamins on disease and concluded:

• “It appears that people who get enough vitamins may be able to reduce their risk of common illness such as cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis”.
• “Suboptimal intake of some vitamins above levels causing classic vitamin deficiency, is a risk factor for chronic disease, and common in the general population, especially the elderly.”
• “Most people do not consume an optimal amount of all vitamins by diet alone”
• “It appears prudent for all adults to take vitamin supplements

Reversing a longstanding anti-vitamin policy, the Journal of the American Medical Association today is advising that all adults take a multivitamin and multimineral each day.

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