Tag Archives: Alzheimers

Taking psychiatric meds? How to protect yourself from side effects.

Along with frequently described mood  or antidepressant medications, what else can a person do to protect themselves from accumulating brain tissue loss and losing brain function?

For the folks suffering from disabling episodes of psychosis, mania and depression, the right psychiatric  medications are a godsend. There are many people who attribute their ability to continue working and leading a normal life to their  medications along with therapy. It is thought that for some people, these brain illnesses are associated with degeneration of brain cells. While every case may be different, often dysfunction in the brain occurs along with  dysfunction in the body. After all, every part of our body is connected.

We are seeing increases in autoimmune disorders, food allergies, gut problems, arthritis, asthma, skin disorders, depression and sleep disorders. For some people, some of these problems may be due to the same culprit. There is much discussion now about the role of diet and gut dysfunction in the emergence of mood disorders.

So, would it make sense to identify and eliminate the culprit(s) and replace lost or missing nutrients that are known to be essential for brain health? How about looking at non-prescription supplements and foods that help the brain? In the December, 2016 issue of Current Psychiatry, Dr. Henry A. Nasrallah, writes about supplements that can help protect the brains of folks who are experiencing brain problems which show up as mood or cognitive disorders.

Some antidepressants, mood stabilizers and atypical antipsychotics may not only decrease troubling symptoms but may also have a protective effect on the brain.

There is an additional step that your doctor can take to help you protect your brain from the “destructive processes that accompany acute episodes of psychosis, mania and depression”.

Some of the supplements mentioned are:

Omega-3 fatty acids – Found in fish oil supplements have been shown in research studies to help reduce the effects of mood disorders and psychosis when used in addition to medications as well as a general supplement to protect brain health. Check out http://www.VitalChoice.org

Caffeine –  Thought to be neuroprotective and to aid in preventing mood and memory dysfunction. Not necessarily good for anxious clients but helpful for those with psychosis or mood disorders.

Vitamin D3 –  A deficiency of this essential vitamin (the status of most people living north of North Carolina and especially of people experiencing psychotic and mood disorders)  has been associated with depression, Alzheimer’s, autism and schizophrenia.  Supplementation with natural vitamin D (inexpensive over the counter) is said to protect the brain and the body against basic illnesses.

Nicotine (in the form of nicotine gum or nicotine patches) can help with cognitive processing (thinking), stress and cell health.

Melatonin – is an antioxidant, supportive to the immune system which reduces brain inflammation.  Especially for diabetics or those with metabolic syndrome, melatonin is felt to be protective of brain tissue.  Melatonin is considered an over the counter supplement that is helpful for sleep problems.  For those taking Synthroid,  melatonin use needs to be discussed with your pharmacist or physician.

N-acetylcysteine – is a powerful antioxidant for the brain, especially during a psychotic episode

Minocycline – An antibiotic that has been shown in studies to have protective effects on the brain as an additional treatment in schizophrenia

Lithium – usually used to treat mania in dosages of 900 to 1500 mg/d has been found to prevent progression of “amnestic mild cognitive impairment” to full dementia when taken in doses as low as 1 mg/d.

Erythropoietin (limited use due to some black-box warnings)

Cox-2 inhibitors: anti-inflammatory drug helpful in acute psychosis usually associated with neuro-inflammation.

Talk to your provider about adding these supplements to your psychiatric medication

Source: Current Psychiatry,  Are you neuroprotecting your patients? 10 Adjunctive therapies, Henry A Nasrallah, MD, Vol. 15, No.12, December 2016

 

Fight dementia & Alzheimer’s: Dump the bread

Renowned neurologist, David Perlmutter, says that it’s neither consistent with reality nor current science to deny the negative effects of bread, cereals, pasta and other wheat products on brain health. He says that he feels “we owe it to the public to tell them that gluten, carbohydrates and sugar represent a modern brain threat”. He notes that medications for many common brain disorders are detrimental to health, especially for children. He notes that we do not understand the long term consequences of medication for ADHD kids, for example.

Dr. Perlmutter points out that he puts nearly all of his patients on a gluten free diet because of the overwhelmingly positive results.

Women taking antidepressant medications are 45% more likely to have a stroke and increase their risk of death by 32%, statistics that Dr. Perlmutter calls “horrifying”. If you are depressed he points to a study that claims it increases the risk of having gluten sensitivity by 230%. Movement disorders, like Parkinson’s and others, have been powerfully responsive to the removal of gluten from the diet.

Dr. Perlmutter is a board-certified neurologist and Fellow of the American College of Nutrition. He is the author of “Grain Brain” (#1 New York Times bestseller), “The Better Brain Book”,  and “Power Up Your Brain”. Website: http://www.drperlmutter.com

Risk of Alzheimers may be reduced by drinking vegetable & fruit juices

 

In the Kame Project, a ten-year, sizable study of Japanese and Japanese-Americans, Alzheimer’s disease risk was reduced by 76% in those who drank natural fruit and vegetable juices three times a week, compared with those who drank juice less than once a week. It is thought that the polyphenol antioxidants found in juices and in colorful fruits and vegetables, herbs, and spices are probably most responsible for the beneficial effects. The effects of the polyphenol antioxidants were even greater than the antioxidant vitamins found in these foods. These polyphenol antioxidants are found in herbs and spices used in seasoning such as thyme, oregano, turmeric, rosemary and bay leaf.

Those people who possessed the gene linked to the most common form of Alzheimer’s of course, and those who are sedentary might experience the greatest reduction in their risk (Dai, Q, et al, 2006).

It’s important to study the ingredients in packaged juices to be sure they contain only juice and not corn syrup, artificial flavoring and coloring, other sugars (i.e. sucrose, fructose, etc.). The best way to be sure is to juice your own organic fruits and vegetables. Users of Vitamix (Vitamix.com) and Nutribullet (Nutribullet.com) swear by their juices and smoothies.

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