The memory of 1 in 8 older adults living in America is threatened by Alzheimer’s dementia, with half of those aged 80 and older being crippled by the disease. Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by drastic changes in brain chemistry that interfere with chemical and electrical transmissions relative to memory, cognition and learning. While much time and money is being spent by the pharmaceutical industry to provide a synthetic remedy very little if any success has been found. So far, a strong connection has been made between coconut oil and Alzheimer’s prevention as well as marijuana and Alzheimer’s prevention, but as lab trials continue, we learn that the answer to dementia prevention may be just an apple, a bowl of berries or a salad away. Of course it’s no surprise.
Researchers at the University of Ulm in Germany have published results from a study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease that demonstrates the necessity of a diet high in antioxidant vitamins and nutrients. These results indicate that it may be possible to influence the development and progression of Alzheimer’s or dementia by infusing a person’s diet with healthful foods and antioxidants.
Vitamin C and Beta-Carotene Reduce Oxidative Stress
According to some research, long-term exposure to pollution, household chemicals and highly-processed foods creates severe oxidative stress in the body leading to fatal dementia. To investigate this possibility and explore the impact of antioxidant-rich food and supplements on the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, researchers gathered 74 patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and a control group of 158 healthy participants.
Study participants aged 65 to 90 years were put through a series of neuropsychological tests and questionaries relative to their lifestyle. Blood samples were examined for antioxidant levels of vitamin C, vitamin E, lycopene, beta-carotene and coenzyme Q10 and body mass indexes were calculated. Results indicated that serum levels of vitamin C and beta-carotene were much lower in Alzheimer’s group than in the control group although no difference in the others antioxidants tested was found. These results further confirmed that vitamin C and beta-carotene are able to cross the blood-brain barrier where they prevent against stress-related oxidation leading to dementia. Together the two health promoting compounds work to encourage the normal clearance of amyloid proteins that help to protect against Alzheimer’s disease.
Increasing Vitamin C and Beta-Carotene in the Diet
Natural health professionals have been touting the health benefits of consuming a diet rich in vitamins and minerals for years. Vitamin C occurs naturally in citrus fruits like oranges or limes, while carrots, apricots, pumpkins, and spinach are rich in beta-carotene. Whole food supplementation is also an option for increasing both vitamin C and beta-carotene levels in the body.