Stopping Alzheimer's Before it Starts
WebMD Live Events Transcript
In a perfect world Alzheimer's disease would be a distant memory, but until we have a cure, prevention is a vital step toward stopping memory loss and dementia. Daniel Amen, MD, and William Rodman Shankle, MD, co-authors of Preventing Alzheimer's, joined us on May 20, 2004, to discuss the steps you can take to reduce risk factors for this devastating disease.
The opinions expressed herein are the guests' alone and have not been reviewed by a WebMD physician. If you have questions about your health, you should consult your personal physician. This event is meant for informational purposes only.
Do vitamins B, C, E, and folic acid help in reducing your chances of getting Alz.? Which amounts should be taken? Will the vitamin E cause an elevation in bad cholesterol? I had read it does and have discontinued vitamin E because my bad cholesterol stays too high. My father died with Alz. and I am 52 yrs. old.
This is an excellent question, and it points out the need to identify precisely what one's risks are, so that one knows which treatments are going to help. And once you know which treatments are going to help, you also need to know what the potential risks are for taking those treatments.
In reviewing the literature on these various supplements that are available -- vitamin C, D, E, folic acid, and others -- it is very clear that there are risks in taking each of them that need to be known. It is also very clear there are interactions with medications that are prescribed that need to be known. In optimizing one's treatment strategy to prevent Alzheimer's, you first need to know the risks and how the preventive agents interact with things you currently take. This was the goal of the online prevention program we have developed. Vitamin E, as a good example, does increase the risk of bleeding at doses above 1000 units a day, and it suppresses the immune system, so there are real reasons to know precisely how much to take.
That said, vitamin C and E do, in fact, reduce the risk of developing impairment in memory as one ages, by about 30 percent, and a recent study has shown approximately a 70 percent risk reduction for Alzheimer's.
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