Alzheimer Dementia & Diet, Any Relation?

Alzheimer, dementia & diet are discussed in this article and some of the related studies. Learn how diet changes may impact and what that researchers believe may help.

Alzheimer's is one of the most common types of dementia. It affects approximately 5 to 10% of all Americans over the age of 65. There are really no tests that can be done to give a specific diagnosis of Alzheimer's. There are, however, several tests to be done to rule out other things. The doctor must rule out a stroke, a brain tumor, nutritional deficiencies, and thyroid disorder. These are all other things that could cause dementia.

The cause of Alzheimer's is still unknown, but it is suspected that it could involve chromosomal and genetic factors.

Aluminum has been found in some of the abnormal brain cells of some Alzheimer's patients. It has not been proven that this has anything to do with the disease at all. Researchers do believe, however, that the build up of zinc may be a more important factor. Some studies have shown that taking zinc in high quantities can cause memory loss and other Alzheimer's symptoms.

At one time there was a study done amount Alzheimer's patient. It showed that taking high doses of Vitamin E could slow down the progress of the disease. The down side of this is that high doses of vitamin E can also cause bleeding problems. This course of treatment should only be considered under the close supervision of a doctor.

Tofu and other such products are high in plant estrogens. It is believed that diet rich in this would provide for at least some estrogen replacement. Other sources would be wild yams and flaxseed. These are usually only found at health food stores.

Alzheimer's patients have also been found to decrease levels of choline acetyltranferase. This is a chemical that is needed within the brain to insure good memory and the ability to learn.

Some nutritionist believes that foods high in lecithin and choline will help slow the process of Alzheimer's. So far many studies have not proven this. Until proof comes, it will not do any harm.

Some foods that you would find lecithin and choline in are:

Egg yolks

Liver and other organ meats

Soy products

Wheat germ

Whole grain breads and cereals

As Alzheimer's progresses patients may begin to only eat things that they like. Many times, they may forget to eat at all. Often times they will need to be spoon-fed as they have too much difficulty feeding themselves. A multivitamin along with a balanced diet is recommended. Remember, though, if you are using a high dose supplement you must consult your physician first.

Alcohol should absolutely be avoided. Even in moderate amounts it can destroy certain amounts of brain cells. This is something that an Alzheimer's patient cannot afford. Alcohol can also interact with antidepressants, sedatives, and other medications that may be prescribed to the Alzheimer's patient.

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