Ginkgo Biloba Extract and Cognitive Function in the Elderly.

A six-year double-blind study published in 2008 found that treatment with Ginkgo biloba extract (ginkgo) did not prevent dementia or Alzheimer’s disease in elderly volunteers who had normal cognitive function or mild cognitive impairment at baseline. The data from that study have now been analyzed further, to determine whether ginkgo produced any subtle benefits that were not identified in the original report. No such benefits were found, and the new analysis concluded that ginkgo did not slow the rate of cognitive decline in elderly individuals with normal cognitive function or mild cognitive impairment. (more…)

Understanding the Serum Vitamin B12 Level and Its Implications for Treating Neuropsychiatric Conditions: An Orthomolecular Perspective

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) ranks among the most useful, safe, and effective orthomolecules when treating a diverse array of neuropsychiatric conditions. However, most clinicians do not consider vitamin B12 important unless the serum level is below laboratory reference ranges. Ten research reports, summarized here, indicate metabolic consequences from low-normal (but not deficient) serum B12 levels, and/or clinical improvements following therapy that markedly increased serum B12 levels. My clinical experience, along with the summarized reports, suggests that (1) serum levels of vitamin B12 not “classically” deficient by current laboratory standards are associated with neuropsychiatric signs and symptoms, and (2) clinical improvement results when serum vitamin B12 levels are optimized or markedly increased following vitamin B12 treatment. Vitamin B12’s mechanisms of action are believed to include increased S-adenosylmethionine production, improved methylation, decreased plasma and brain homocysteine, compensation for inborn errors of metabolism, normalized gene expression, correction of long-latency vitamin B12 debt, and anti-inflammatory activity. Clinicians may wish to reevaluate the importance of lower-than-optimal serum vitamin B12 levels, pursue additional testing such as urinary methylmalonic acid, and consider the potential benefits of vitamin B12 treatment. (more…)

Astaxanthin Helps to Promote Brain Health

People with dementia, a condition in which memory, learning, and behavior are compromised, have elevated levels of phospholipid hydroperoxides (PLOOH), free radical compounds that accumulate abnormally in the red blood cells (erythrocytes).  Kiyotaka Nakagawa, from Tohoku University (Japan), and colleagues enrolled 30 healthy men and women, ages 50 and 69 years, in a twelve-week long study during which each subject received either a daily dietary supplement of 6 milligrams astaxanthin – an antioxidant compound derived from algae, a daily supplement of 12 milligrams astaxanthin, or placebo (zero astaxanthin).  Subjects who consumed either astaxanthin supplement demonstrated markedly lower levels of PLOOH in their erythrocytes, with reductions in the order of about 40 and 50% in the 6 and 12 mg groups, respectively, compared with no significant change in the placebo group. The researchers conclude that: “These results suggest that astaxanthin supplementation results in improved erythrocyte antioxidant status and decreased [phospholipid hydroperoxide] levels, which may contribute to the prevention of dementia.”


Kiyotaka Nakagawa, Takehiro Kiko, Taiki Miyazawa, Gregor Carpentero Burdeos, Fumiko Kimura, Akira Satoh and Teruo Miyazawa.  “Antioxidant effect of astaxanthin on phospholipid peroxidation in human erythrocytes.”  British Journal of Nutrition, 31 January 2011; DOI:10.1017/S0007114510005398.

Hearing loss may be a warning of a very serious health problem

It starts out as an annoyance, becomes a bit of an embarrassment and, eventually, can turn you into a bit of a hermit.

Up until now, that frustration was one of the worst things about degenerative hearing loss.

But all that changed with a just-published study that puts hearing loss in a new perspective–that of major warning sign and not just an annoyance. (more…)

Brain Health Part 1

As I get older, there are a few things I don’t want to get older. I want my joints to work so that I can get around. I want my eyes to work so that I can see. I want my brain to work so I can remember. But we have a problem. Getting older in America means you are going to get Alzheimer’s. If you live to age 90, you have something on the order of 50% risk of getting Alzheimer’s. America has a wave of dementia coming down the way, and we are all sitting on the beach. It’s an epidemic I don’t want to be part of. I’m really interested in how I can keep my brain healthy, so I want to start to explore the emerging science of brain health.  (more…)

Alert for 50 Year Olds: Memory Problems = Drastic Increase in Stroke Risk

In stunning findings recently presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s1 63rd Annual Meeting in Honolulu researchers found that those at age 50 in the bottom 20% of memory function had a staggering 940% increased risk of stroke at an older age. Now let me see – why did I enter this room?  SSlluurriinngg your words is another sign of trouble. (more…)

Human Study Shows Potential Brain Health With Astaxanthin

Astaxanthin is a new and exciting nutrient that the research community is really starting to get excited about.  Astaxanthin is what gives shrimp, krill and salmon their pink color.

Well, a new study from Japan is showing that it may also reduce the accumulation of compounds that are associated with dementia.

DHA May Improve Memory in Elderly

A study published in the November edition of Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association suggests that taking docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) may improve memory and learning in older adults with mild cognitive impairments. This is promising news for many aging Americans who are searching for options to maintain memory and support overall cognitive health.