Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is a devastating neurodegenerative disease that affects upwards of 6.7 million Americans over the age of 65. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates diagnoses will reach 14 million cases by 2060.
New data from the cognitive sub-studies of the Cocoa Supplement and Multivitamin Outcomes Study (COSMOS) conducted at Harvard Medical School affiliate Brigham and Women’s Hospital shows that daily multivitamins help to reduce cognitive aging by two years. The findings were published online on January 18 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
“The upshot is that taking a daily multivitamin containing more than 20 essential micronutrients can help prevent memory loss and slow down cognitive aging,” says board certified internist Jacob Teitelbaum, MD. “We hope and pray that soon we’ll have a medicine that turns off the dementia switch in the brain and makes Alzheimer’s Disease a thing of the past, or at least a treatable condition. Until that day, it makes sense to use a scientifically validated, safe, low-cost therapy that we know works.”
According to Dr. Teitelbaum, current treatment is geared toward prescribing two minimally effective and costly medications, Aricept and Namenda. But he says a lot can be done to prevent or slow Alzheimer’s and dementia even before a “wonder drug” is discovered.
“Too often, medications cause symptoms of dementia and once they’re eliminated cognition improves. Anticholinergic (AC) drugs including Benadryl, tricyclic antidepressants for Major Depressive Disorder, and incontinence meds, are especially problematic,” he explains. “Common drugs that also can cause memory loss include medications for anxiety, cholesterol, seizures, Parkinson’s Disease, hypertension, and also narcotic painkillers, and sleep aids.”
“In addition, symptoms can be triggered by multi-infarct dementia, hidden infections and inflammation, nutritional deficiencies, hearing loss, and hormonal imbalances. Low normal thyroid levels were associated with a 240 percent higher risk of dementia in women. Borderline elevated thyroid had as much as an 800 percent higher risk in men. Dementia means it’s time to get a thorough checkup from both the neurologist and your integrative physician (see www.IFM.org to find one),” says Teitelbaum.
Dr. Teitelbaum’s bestselling, From Fatigued to Fantastic is full of tips for effectively reducing or even eliminating cognitive decline, and recommendations for specific tests you should consider with your doctor for nailing the cause of dementia symptoms.