Vitamins Tackling Dementia

I wanted to share with you some very encouraging information about the effectiveness of vitamins in tackling dementia and Alzheimer's, with results challenging those of conventional medicine.

I came across an article by Professor David Smith (Emeritus Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Oxford and co-founder of OPTIMA) recently in the UK's Daily Mail, entitled:

"The 10p-a-day vitamin supplement that tackles dementia: So why is the drug industry spending billions?


Life expectancy is around 80 today, whereas 100 years ago it was much lower, at around 52. Modern medicine provides life saving surgery, organ replacements, cures for many diseases, as well as there being a much greater knowledge of diet and natural medicine. With all this progress and a much later life expectancy, dementia has come to affect many people later in life. 250,000 Australians suffer from some form of the disease, which leads to mental decline, memory loss, speech and movement problems, and death.


Professor Smith describes how the world's bestselling medication for Alzheimer's improves memory function in patients with mild to moderate problems, helping about a third of full Alzheimer's sufferers; others will get no benefit or suffer side effects. He says that for those for whom it works, the drug improves quality of life for a year or two. After that, since the brain damage caused by the disease progresses, patients may show a marked decline. He goes on to say that the drug is widely used because it is the best drug of its kind, but that he believes if we are to beat this horrific illness, a more broadminded approach is needed.

He describes the problems with Alzheimer drug research being almost entirely based on the 'amyloid hypothesis', a theory about what causes Alzheimer's that he says appears to be increasingly invalid. With all their eggs in one basket, "Billions of pounds have been spent, and every single trial has failed. Some drugs made the symptoms of dementia worse."


In 2006 they recruited 270 elderly people with memory problems and gave them Vitamin B tablets - folic acid, B12 and B6.

The supplements, which cost as little as 10 pence a day, were found to slow shrinkage of the brain by an average of 30% a year - and slow the rate of cognitive decline - in people with high blood levels of homocysteine. Raised levels of this amino acid can increase the risk of developing Alzheimer's three or four-fold.

"He describes, By regulating homocysteine with B vitamins, they showed for the first time it is possible to slow the progress of the disease, if you start early. More trials are needed to test whether continued treatment can delay its progress indefinitely, but B vitamins have been shown to be as good clinically as Aricept - and better in that they slow the disease progression rather than ease the symptoms."

He says, "...those with memory problems should have their homocysteine measured and be started on B vitamins, under medical guidance. Normal dietary intake isn't enough. One (200ml) glass of semi-skimmed milk contains 2.5 micrograms of B12, and most manage to eat five micrograms a day. But we do know people with high Vitamin B intakes are less likely to develop dementia, so every little helps ... For OPTIMA, the next step is a trial of 1,000 people... to see if B vitamins prevent the conversion to dementia over a two-year period. Can Alzheimer's Disease be beaten? I am optimistic."

Co-researcher Professor Helga Refsum commented: 'Here we have a very simple solution: you give some vitamins and you seem to protect the brain.'

The results suggest that a basic cocktail of vitamins can achieve results that have evaded pharmaceutical companies, despite billions of pounds being spent on experimental dementia drugs.

Professor Smith said: "This was a disease-modifying study. All other disease modifying trials have failed. What we can say is that this is the first one that shows a glimmer of hope and success."

If you feel you have memory problems come and see me and I can make recommendations of remedies, including B vitamins, as well as homeopathics.

I look forward to continuing to follow your progress.

Best wishes,

Nick Dale
Tel: 9397 9124
Mobile: 0412 596789

I am available at the Galleria from Tuesday to Saturday 9.30am - 5pm and late night shopping on Thursday's. Come by and see me and give me an update on how you are going when you can.






Nick Dale, Naturopath Perth, Morley, Roleystone

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