More on Alzheimers

February 17, 2004
In this issue

Life Extension Weekly Update Exclusive:



More on Alzheimer’s





Alzheimer’s disease


Featured Products of the Week:



Huperzine A



Methylcobalamin Lozenges


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Life Extension Weekly Update Exclusive

More on Alzheimer’s
Oxidative stress-induced fat abnormalities found in Alzheimer’s disease

Readers of Life Extension Weekly Update will recall the study cited in the January 20 2004 issue which found an association between vitamin C and E supplement use and a lower incidence of Alzheimer’s disease. This week, the February 17 2004 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences ( revealed the findings of the National Institute on Aging’s Laboratory of Neurosciences’ Chief Mark P Mattson and colleagues, that altered lipid metabolism in brain cells may be important in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. The team examined tissue samples taken from Alzheimer’s disease patients upon autopsy and compared them to normal brain samples. They found significantly higher levels of the lipids ceramide and cholesterol in the middle frontal gyrus of the Alzheimer's brains compared to the normal brains. The middle frontal gyrus is one brain region where amyloid deposits and neurofibrillary tangles are found in Alzheimer’s disease patients. Levels of ceramide and cholesterol and the amount of oxidative damage increased with disease severity.

In a presentation to the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual meeting in Seattle, Dr Mattson explained that oxidative stress generated by the presence of amyloid-beta in the brain appears to stimulate the accumulation of cholesterol and ceramide, which leads to neuron death. This explains the antioxidant vitamin E’s apparent protective effect against Alzheimer's disease. When the researchers found that amyloid-beta increased ceramide and cholesterol in cultured rat neurons, treating the cells with vitamin E reduced the levels of both lipids and decreased nerve cell death.

Dr Mattson stated, "We had suspected that changes in fat metabolism in the membranes of nerve cells played a role in Alzheimer's but we had not been able to establish a direct link. With this study, we have been able to illustrate how alterations in membrane lipids can lead to neuronal dysfunction and death. The involvement of cholesterol and ceramide in the neurotoxic actions of beta amyloid, and their strong associations with the way the Alzheimer's progresses, suggests a novel approach for therapeutic interventions. Our work suggests that dietary modifications and drugs that inhibit the accumulation of ceramide and cholesterol may prove effective in suppressing the processes that lead to the disease."


Alzheimer’s disease
There are a vast number of choices in both drugs and nutritional supplements available for patients with Alzheimer's disease. A well-informed holistic or naturopathic medical doctor can be of great help in ordering the appropriate lab tests and identifying the key supplements that will provide the greatest benefit. The following are several of the supplements and drugs that have been covered in this protocol along with standard daily dosages:

  • Acetylcholine support
    • Take 6 capsules daily of a choline-based multinutrient formula called Cognitex
    • An additional 10 grams a day of soy lecithin may be considered
  • Antioxidants
    • Ginkgo biloba, 120 mg in the morning
    • Vitamin E, 2000 mg a day
    • Vitamin C, 1000 mg a day
    • N-acetyl cysteine, 600 mg once a day
  • Anti-inflammatory
    • Essential fatty acids (DHA, EPA, and GLA). Six capsules daily of a formula called Super GLA/DHA provides an ideal balance
    • Curcumin (turmeric), 900 mg twice a day
  • Homocysteine reduction
    • Vitamin B12, 1000 mcg or more a day
    • Vitamin B6, 500 mg a day
    • Folic acid, 800 mcg a day
    • SAMe, 400-1600 mg a day, particularly if there are signs of depression
  • Neuronal protection
    • Methylcobalamin, the neurologically active form of vitamin B12,
    • 5-40 mg daily to protect against excitotoxity
    • Phosphatidylserine, 100 mg 3 times a day
    • Acetyl-L-carnitine, 1500 mg twice a day
    • Melatonin, 3-10 mg at bedtime, particularly if there is insomnia
  • Inhibit glycation
    • Carnosine, 1000 mg a day (minimum) should be considered

Featured Products of the Week

Huperzine A

This standardized extract from the Chinese club moss is an all-natural herbal supplement that may help prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine.

This product is standardized for maximum efficacy, and its patented delivery system that includes fat-soluble vitamin E increases absorption.

Methylcobalamin lozenges

Many elderly people report that B12 supplementation greatly improves their cognitive function. Published studies show that vitamin B12 in supplement form is absorbed better by elderly people than vitamin B12 that is bound to food.

The most common form of vitamin B12 is cyanocobalamin. While this form of vitamin B12 works well to prevent anemia, it is the methylcobalamin form that is required to maintain neurological health. The liver naturally converts a small amount of cyanocobalamin into methylcobalamin, but to regenerate neurons and the myelin sheath that protects axons and peripheral nerves, higher doses of methylcobalamin are necessary. There is no known toxicity at these doses. These methylcobalamin lozenges that are dissolved in the mouth are available in a vanilla flavor.

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If you have questions or comments concerning this issue or past issues of Life Extension Weekly Update, send them to or call 954 766 8433 extension 7716.

For longer life,

Dayna Dye
Editor, Life Extension Weekly Update
954 766 8433 extension 7716
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