Alzheimer's Disease|Progression|Homocysteine Levels and Vitamin B
What is Alzheimer’s disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is a cruel degenerative disease which robs sufferers of their mental faculties. Starting out by forgetting words and lapses of memory, the disease gradually gets worse until the sufferer regresses almost to babyhood. See another of my articles http://hub.me/af2Ph which explains the condition in depth.
What is the Vitamin B connection?
Research has been carried out at Oxford University on patients from the Oxford area recently which shows that taking vitamins in the B group can slow down the degeneration of the brains of patients affected by Alzheimer’s disease by seven times. The B vitamins are as follows:
- B12 - Contained in Milk, cottage cheese, meat, oysters, turkey, eggs, liver, shellfish, tuna and sardines.
- Folic Acid - Found in Liver, broccoli, avocado, grains, spinach, strawberries, cabbage, beans and cauliflower.
- B6 – Present in Onions, potatoes, bananas, chicken, broccoli, other green leafy vegetables, lentils, prunes, peppers, nuts, seeds and watermelon.
What are some signs of deficiency in B vitamins?
- B12 deficiency – Weakness, muscle aches and spasms, pernicious anaemia, hyperhomocysteinemia, anxiety, numbness of extremities, weakness, tension, stomach problems, skin lesions and hyperpigmentation.
- Folic Acid deficiency – Anaemia, tiredness, fainting, headache, pallor tinnitus and palpitations
- B6 deficiency – Seborrhoeic dermatitis, conjunctivitis, sore tongue, splits at the corner of the mouth (angular cheilitis), neuropathy and intertrigo
Why are B Vitamins so helpful in Alzheimer’s patients?
The reason some B vitamins are so helpful is because they lower the level of an amino acid called Homocysteine and it is high levels of this which cause Alzheimer’s disease as well as heart disease and strokes. Generally as people age their diets and nutrition become less healthy and they take in fewer vitamins so it makes sense to supplement with vitamin pills. Consuming B Vitamins has been found to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
What is Homocysteine?
Homocysteine is an amino acid which is produced in the body as a by product of methionine. If there is not enough consumption of B12, B6 and Folate the levels of Homocysteine rise too high.
Is there anything else which pre-disposes a person to having high homocysteine?
Yes there are a number of factors:
- Family history of stroke or heart disease
What is the effect of high levels of Homocysteine?
Elevated levels of the amino acid can cause the following conditions:
- Deep Vein Thrombosis
- Coronary Artery disease
- Cognitive dysfunction
- Alzheimer’s disease
Are there tests to determine Homocysteine levels?
There are blood tests available but although cholesterol is regularly tested by medical professionals; it is rare for homocysteine levels to be tested. There are some home testing kits for homocysteine which cost around £95.00 in the UK. They are obtainable from: http://www.amazinghealth.co.uk in the UK http://www.healthcheckusa.com priced currently at $80.
What is the effect on Alzheimer’s patients of high homocysteine levels?
In Welsh trials it was found that healthy people with high levels of the amino acid suffer more cognitive decline over a five year period than those with normal levels. Patients’ already suffering from Alzheimer’s had high levels of homocysteine.
A positive side effect from taking B vitamins to lower the level of homocysteine in the blood is a lessening of the risk factors for heart disease, stroke and DVT as well as slowing the mental decline of patients with Alzheimer’s.
Would you take B Vitamins to try to prevent the onset of Alzheimer's disease?
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