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What you Need to Know About Fish Oil & Omega 3s to Help With Alzheimer’s Disease

Posted by on Sunday, January 26th, 2014

There is a lot of discussion today about how (and which) Omega-3s can have positive effects on the brain and promote cognitive health. Specifically, these have been touted as a way to slow the onset of memory loss, and reduce risk for dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.  Does the truth live up to the hype?  If so, what type of fish oil is best, and are supplements enough to help with Alzheimer’s? 

From Confusion to Clarity

The #1 take home point with Omega’s 3s (also referred to as a “Omega 3 fatty acids”) is that not all of the different types are created equal in terms of potential for protecting brain health. As discussed in detail in The Alzheimer’s Diet book, there are several types of Omega-3s, with DHA having the most evidence for brain protection, followed by EPA. Another new study was recently published that again supports this. Another common form of Omega 3 is called ALA, but the problem with ALA is that only a very small percentage actually gets later converted in the body to the brain-boosting forms (DHA and EPA). Complicating things, a recent study showed an association between DHA and prostate cancer in men, yet the American Nutrition Association (as well as many experts) state that the overall benefits likely outweigh risk. Before considering any changes to ones diet or before considering starting a supplement, people should always discuss first and seek approval by their treating physician.  For a specialized opinion, scheduling a consultation with the Alzheimer’s Prevention & Treatment Program at New York Presbyterian / Weill Cornell Medical Center in NYC  is also an option.

Another important point that leads to a lot of confusion is that a lot of people use the terms “Fish Oil” and “Omega-3s” interchangeably. Fish oil comes from fish and can be supplemented in the diet in capsule form, but each capsule has different amounts of DHA, EPA, ALA etc. Many people also don’t realize that Omega 3 fatty acids are plentiful in certain types of fish, and the fish actually get these brain-healthy fatty acids from eating algae. There are even very specific types of Omega 3 supplements that are DIRECTLY from algae, rich in DHA, and have been studied specifically in patients with the earliest stages of AD.  These studies showed slowing of cognitive decline and improvements in memory. To learn more about this topic, as well as which types of fish may be most beneficial, and to read an overview of all the evidence and other specific dietary choices for Alzheimer’s prevention and treatment, read The Alzheimer’s Diet book.

Research

Research is being done regarding the effect of fish oil when it comes to the Alzheimer’s disease prevention and treatment.  Read below for more details.

Benefits of fish oil for help with Alzheimer's

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Holiday Guide for Living with Those with Dementia-Festive Meals that Promote Prevention of Alzheimer’s

Posted by on Saturday, December 21st, 2013

If you are a caregiver or family member of one of the 5.4 million individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, you may be wondering what the upcoming holiday season will bring, particularly if you have a  family member with progressive cognitive decline or Alzheimer’s dementia.  You may have many questions such as “how can I make a holiday meal that will promote the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and ensure the food I serve is healthy enough for the Alzheimer’s diet?”   

holiday meals for prevention of Alzheimer's

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There are many ways to ensure a safe and enjoyable holiday with your loved one who has dementia. Below are some tips on transforming a potentially stressful holiday season to an enjoyable and safe event for those who have a family member or close friend who suffers with dementia:

  • Encourage the individual with dementia to follow their own instincts when it comes to setting limits on how much t social interaction they are able to engage in.  Remind other family members that individuals with dementia may not be able to participate in every event.
  • Encourage family members and friends to be sure to visit the person with dementia over the holiday season, even if it is difficult.  Socialization is great for prevention of Alzheimer’s, but it is a good idea to limit the number of people who visit to only a few at a time to keep distractions at a minimum.  Be sure that there is adequate time for rest between visitors if many family members are planning to visit.
  • Keep the noise level low and avoid over stimulating the individual with Alzheimer’s by keeping lights low-avoid drastically change the intensity of light.
  • Caregivers should take advantage of the holidays to visit family members and take a break from the day to day routing of caring for someone with dementia.  Seek out help from other family members to cover for you if you need to. Continue reading…

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Nobody Ever Said Prevention of Alzheimer’s Would Be a Sweet Deal!

Posted by on Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

With the holidays approaching, it’s a great time to talk about healthy sweeteners-particularly for those who are following a diet for Prevention of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).   One important aspect of an Alzheimer’s Prevention diet (based on scientific evidence that proves certain people can delay the onset of AD) is avoiding unhealthy foods high in sugar, fructose and high fructose corn syrup. These unhealthy sweeteners are  present in many of the holiday treats that are available in abundance at this time of year.

Fructose is a natural ingredient in fruits and vegetables, however when it is extracted from natural foods, leaving it void of fiber, fructose becomes a sweetener that is high on the glycemic index chart (the higher the rating, the faster the food causes spikes in blood sugar).  Fructose is processed the same in the body as sugar.  Fructose is added to many types of processed sugar such as white table sugar and high fructose corn syrup.  

high fructose corn syrup not recommended for prevention of Alzheimer's

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When it comes to sugar substitutes there are many different alternatives  including; NutraSweet, aspartame, saccharine, Sweet-n- Low and more.  Then there are the natural sweeteners such as; honey, maple syrup, agave syrup, coconut sugar and stevia.  But with so many choices,  which type of sweetener is best for prevention of Alzheimer’s disease?

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New Research Shows Improvement in 36% of AD Patients who Took Axona, 44% Stabilization

Posted by on Monday, December 2nd, 2013

There are some very exciting new clinical trials that have shown a new medical food therapy (available now in the US) may help some patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD).  

A recent study of the effectiveness of caprylic triglyceride (CT) – the active ingredient in a non-drug prescription called Axona, was conducted by Dr. Steven Douglas Maynard and Dr. Jeff Gelblum at Indiana University/Mount Sinai Medical Center. The research article was published in the Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment Journal in October 2013.

The primary reason for the study was to evaluate the effects of CT in those with mild to moderate AD in a routine clinical practice setting. The effect of CT was evaluated in the study by medical records reviews by the physicians, as well as reports from caregivers who were asked to answer questionnaires at specific intervals during the study period.  

alzheimer's research effecitiveness of Axona

Image Source: Bestinfographics

The study included male and female participants age 50 and over, diagnosed with probable mild to moderate AD who had received this new prescription-only medical food for over 6 months.

The results of the study were encouraging.  Of a total of 55 participants who took Axona in addition to medications for AD, 80 percent were stable or had improvement in cognition.  This was after an average of over 18 months of taking Axona, where 36.9% of the participants in the study improved (and 80% of patients improved or remained stable). 

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Brain Healthy Thanksgiving Makeovers for the Alzheimer’s Diet

Posted by on Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

Serving a bountiful feast to celebrate Thanksgiving is a wonderful tradition honoring family and friends during the holiday season, but what about those who are attempting to stay on a healthy Alzheimer’s diet?  Is there a simple way to incorporate a brain healthy Alzheimer’s diet at the Thanksgiving dinner table?

Healthy Holiday Alternatives for the Alzheimer’s Diet

There are some delicious and simple ways of substituting healthy alternatives for some of the not so healthy foods that commonly appear on the Thanksgiving table each year.  Believe it or not it’s not too difficult to forgo the rich calorie laden gravy and buttered potatoes as well as cream, sugar and fat in those tasty desserts, for healthier foods that help promote Alzheimer’s nutrition

 Thanksgiving Alternatives for Alzheimer's Diet

Source; Natural Healthy Concepts

 Everyone knows that the turkey is usually the highlight of a traditional Thanksgiving meal. While turkey is quite healthy for Alzheimer’s nutrition when cooked properly, unfortunately the fat laden gravy that is poured over the top is not so healthy.  Lean turkey is a great source of low fat protein and according to a recent report by Harvard Healthy Publication turkey is “easy on the heart.”   Caloric intake of turkey is lower if you stick to the white meat without the skin. Dark meat contains as much as two times the fat content, and the skin will add a surplus of unwanted saturated fat.  A three ounce serving of white meat contains 26 grams of protein and under 2 grams of fat.   Remember to monitor the portion of turkey on your plate, and avoid the trend of deep frying-slow baking is the healthier alternative.  See recipes for healthy Thanksgiving side dishes by clicking on the “continue reading” tab below. 

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World Alzheimer’s Day 2013: Appreciation & 7 Tips for Caregivers

Posted by on Saturday, September 21st, 2013

Today, September 21, 2013 is World Alzheimer’s Day. If you are a family member of a loved one with Alzheimer’s you may already know far too well how offering help with AD can change the role for each member of the family.  We admire and appreciate all of the dedication, devotion and love that primary caregivers and family members yield when it comes to meeting the demands for care of those with AD.  Caregivers may ask themselves; is there a better way to cope? Here are several tips and helpful links for education and support:

Although there have been tremendous strides in 2013 (and 2014 to come) in medical research in regard to research of potential therapies, including lifestyle and diet changes for Alzheimer’s,  there is still no known cure for the disease. There is, however, a tremendous amount of recent evidence that has shown that specific lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of AD, protect and even improve memory function. For more specific tips on the caregiving aspect of the disease, read below. 

Caretakers help with Alzheimer's

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Is it Normal Memory Loss, or Alzheimer’s? Memory Boosting Foods for the Alzheimer’s Diet

Posted by on Friday, August 2nd, 2013

Many of us have wondered from time to time about whether small memory lapses are just part of the ‘normal’ aging process, or could be something more like the earliest signs of mild cognitive impairment (called MCI), which is the first apparent stage of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).  On August 1, 2013, researchers at Vanderbilt University published evidence that cognitive complaints may be predictive of an AD diagnosis in the years to come.  What is the difference between normal memory loss and early cognitive impairment in AD? Click here to watch an interview on the Today Show with Kathie Lee, Hoda and Dr. Isaacson, Co-Author of The Alzheimer’s Diet and Author of Alzheimer’s Treatment Alzheimer’s Prevention: A Patient & Family Guide, or to learn more, read below. Remember that AD actually starts in the brain 20-30 years before the first signs of memory loss, leaving ample time to try several low-risk interventions (watch this video for the latest info). If you or a loved one has any signs of memory loss, get educated, get informed, and see a qualified healthcare professional for an evaluation.

Just because one is getting older does not mean that he or she will automatically develop dementia! AD is not inevitable, but remember that there are some changes in cognition that occur “normally” with age. This condition is called age-associated cognitive impairment. Symptoms may include intermittent memory loss, word-finding difficulties, and slowing of the speed of thinking. When cognitive changes are isolated to difficulties with memory, this condition is sometimes referred to as age-related memory loss.

how the memory works for Alzheimer's prevention

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What you Need to Know About Alzheimer’s Prevention and Alcohol Consumption

Posted by on Sunday, July 21st, 2013

The Alzheimer’s Prevention diet book, written by Dr. Richard Isaacson, points out that  light consumption of alcohol, particularly red wine, may provide antioxidant properties that could reduce cognitive decline (involving memory and thinking skills). Some people think if  a small amount is good, more is better; it’s important to note that this is NOT the case with alcohol consumption and Alzheimer’s prevention.  

alcohol consumption and Alzheimer's prevention

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7 Toxic Food Additives to Avoid on the Alzheimer’s Diet

Posted by on Friday, July 12th, 2013

New research has questioned whether or not several food additives, like artificial sweeteners, may cause more harm then good. When it comes to reducing risk for Alzheimer’s and memory loss, the new book The Alzheimer’s Diet suggests several tips on how to make more Brain-Healthier food choices. Recent studies have shown that these sweeteners may actually increase weight gain and diabetes, but should these and other food additives should you avoid for maintaining the Alzheimer’s diet?

For some time the food industry has created more and more processed foods chock full of all sorts of chemicals, refined grains, Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), and more.  The food supply has been transformed by the food industry in order to improve everything from the time span products can sit on the shelf to  the flavor and attractiveness. Foods have even been genetically modified so that they won’t attract insects (in order to save money on pesticides).

Food Additives NOT for Alzheimer's diet

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Lifestyle Changes can Mean Life or Death When it Comes to Alzheimer’s Prevention

Posted by on Sunday, June 30th, 2013

Alzheimer’s disease is currently the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. The disease affects more than 5 million people, and that number continues to grow.  Not only is Alzheimer’s a debilitating disease, it is also fatal.  As discussed in the new Alzheimer’s diet book, what can you do today to avoid becoming part of the growing statistics and join the fight in Alzheimer’s prevention? 

Alzheimer's prevention suggestions

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