By: Femi kusa
TOURING the brain health shelves of a five-star health food store may be as tasking as touring the zoological gardens in West Berlin. It may gulp a whole day and fewer than half of the animal population or of the number of brain health nutritional supplements on the shelves may be seen. My work as editor or Editor-in-chief on a quality newspaper was tedious and often warranted daily 11 a.m to 3 a.m schedules filled with reading tiny page proofs, newsroom administration, executive management or executive board meetings and, once in a while, decking out with the boys to “blow some matter” as Mr Dotun Akintoye often described our lager and pepper-soup hangouts. I had known about Ginkgo Biloba as a brain tonic and did not miss it out at meals. It was Sunmi Smart Cole, our photo editor at The Guardian newspaper who first invited my attention to the need to look after my eyes. I had just bought a MAMIYA camera, the Europe camera of the year that year. For a lazy photographer like me who had no time to be balancing focal length with aperture, lighting and stuff like them, the camera automatically adjusted all the values once the subject or object was in fairly clear focus. A red light flickering in the view window invited you to click. I never saw the flickers. But Mr Smart Cole would insist they were there. I, too, began to see them when I began to add nutritional Brewery yeast powder to my meals.
As humans, we inhabit a wonderful earth-body of animal origin designed to run efficiently on certain substances the earth and the stars are designed to feed it with. We experience states of disease in this body when our diet, probably for some time, does not supply these important nutrients. Such is the case with mental health, DEMENTIA in particular. In the conclusion of the first part of this series, I aligned myself to the belief of Moslem friends, based on the teachings of Prophet Mohammed (May the peace of Allah be with him wherever he is). He taught his followers that no disease existed which the Almighty Creator did not foresee could arise and did not, well in advance, provide a cure for. My faith emphasises that the physical human body, which is a workhorse for us humans on earth, is the greatest gift from the Almighty Creator to us in this plane of existence. We must, therefore, take proper care of it. In particular, my faith emphasises that neither drugs nor injections, but the right kinds of foods and drinks bring lasting health. It is on the foregoing light that the following dietary food supplements and those that space does not permit mention here are suggested for the treatment of DEMENTIA. Some of them have been used for centuries in folk medicine on Traditional Medicine and Alternative Medicine. Some of them have become subjects of scientific studies and clinical trials which yielded positive results.
This has been a controversial herb since researchers discovered it. At that time, it was called MAIDEN HAIR. It was so-called that women took it in the satisfaction that it made their hairs long, thick, unbreakable and lustful. Scientists thought this was because Ginkgo Biloba helped to improve blood circulation to the scalp, brain and eyes. It is also believed that, in the brain, Ginkgo Biloba helps microcirculation. But there are many back and forth arguments over whether it significantly improves cognition or mild or mixed dementia responds favourably to it.
There are arguments also over whether the research duration was long enough if the dosages were high enough etc. Nevertheless, it was widely believed that Ginkgo Biloba is an antioxidant, may reduce inflammation, improve circulation, may reduce help in some psychiatric disorders, may improve symptoms of dementia. It is also generally thought to improve brain function, help in anxiety and depression. Other benefits ascribed to Ginkgo Biloba may include vision improvement, checks on asthma and Congestive Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), male Erectile Dysfunction (ED) and Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS).
Amid the controversies over whether Ginkgo Biloba works for dementia, several studies suggest it does. One of them was carried out by Masayuki Hashiguchi, Yuriko Ohta, […], and Mayumi Mochizuki. Their findings were reported in www.ncbi.nlm.nij.gov under the title: Meta-analysis of the efficacy and safety of Ginkgo biloba extract for the treatment of dementia. They say:
The benefit of Ginkgo biloba for the treatment of dementia remains controversial. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of Ginkgo biloba in patients with dementia in whom administration effects were reported using meta-analysis.
We searched MEDLINE, Embase, the Cochrane databases, and Ichushi for controlled trials of Ginkgo biloba for the treatment of dementia. Clinical characteristics and outcomes were extracted. Meta-analysis results were expressed as standardized mean differences (SMDs) in scores of the Syndrome Kurztest (SKT), Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale Cognitive Subscale (ADAS-Cog) for cognition efficacy, or odds ratios (ORs) for dropouts and adverse drug reactions.
Thirteen studies using the extract EGb761 met our inclusion criteria, which were duration of 12 to 52 weeks and the daily dose of more than 120mg, and included a total of 2381 patients. Meta-analysis was performed by using 9 of 13 studies, 7 of which used the SKT and 2 ADAS-Cog (dose 120mg, 26 weeks) scores as efficacy parameters. In a meta-analysis of all patients, SMDs (95% confidence interval [CI]) in the change in SKT scores (7 studies) were in favor of Ginkgo biloba over placebo, but 2 studies that used ADAS-Cog did not show a statistically significant difference from placebo for ADAS-Cog. For Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and vascular dementia (VaD) subgroups, SMDs [95% CI] in SKT in the combined AD and VaD subgroup and AD subgroup were in favor of Ginkgo biloba over placebo. In terms of daily dose of Ginkgo biloba in the combined AD and VaD subgroup, SMD in SKT score in 240mg daily dose groups was significantly greater than with placebo. Dropout rates for any reason did not differ between two groups, but dropout rates due to side effects were significantly lower in Ginkgo biloba groups compared with placebo groups.
Taking a 240mg daily dose of Ginkgo biloba extract is effective and safe in the treatment of dementia”.
GRAPE SEED EXTRACT
Dr. Raymond Strand popularises this herb in his WHAT YOUR DOCTOR DOESN’T KNOW ABOUT NUTRITIONAL MEDICINE MAY BE KILLING YOU (please see www.olufemikusa.com for RESTORE LYF: DR RAY STRAND, GRAPE SEED DOCTOR). He studied and introduced nutritional medicine to his practice when wholesale pharmaceutical drugs failed to cure his wife’s fibromyalgia. One of his pet neutraceuticals became Grape Seed Extract. His book cites some cases of neurological problems which, he said, GSE, as Grape Seed Extract is also called, helped to heal. Some of these included a driver who became wheelchair-bound, was later given weeks by his doctors to live but, nevertheless, recovered on GSE therapy, got his driver’s licence and job back. Another case was a woman whose neurological challenges were making blind but who recovered from them and saw again.
In several mice, GSE protected the brain against oxidative stress damage that may cause Alzheimer’s disease and reduced the impact of such disease. In the findings of one such study reported in PUBMED, the researchers say:
“Mitochondria-associated oxidative stress plays a crucial role in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Grape seed proanthocyanidins (GSPs) have been reported to prevent oxidative stress. In this study, we investigated the underlying mechanisms of GSPs in protecting neurons against oxidative injury in an experimental model of sporadic AD. Primary mouse cortical neurons were subjected to streptozotocin to mimic neuronal oxidative damage in vitro, and mice were subjected to intracerebroventricular (ICV) injection of streptozotocin as an in vivo sporadic AD model. GSPs not only significantly ameliorated neuron loss and mitochondrial dysfunction in mouse cortical neurons pretreated of streptozotocin, but also reduced cognitive impairments, apoptosis and mitochondrial oxidative stress in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus of sporadic AD mice. Moreover, GSPs increased phosphorylation levels of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, Akt and glycogen synthase kinase 3β at its Ser9. Notably, GSPs inhibited streptozotocin-induced mitochondrial permeability transition pore (mPTP) opening via enhancing phosphorylated bind to adenine nucleotide translocator (ANT), thereby reducing the formation of the complex ANT-cyclophilin D. In conclusion, GSPs ameliorate neuronal oxidative damage and cognitive impairment by inhibiting GSK-3β-dependent mPTP opening in AD. Our study provides new insights into that GSPs may be a new therapeutic candidate for the treatment of AD”.
The finding of another study which may be of interest to medical brain specialists such as psychiatrists and neurologists informs us:
“Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by progressive impairments in memory and cognition. Extracellular accumulation of soluble high-molecular-weight (HMW) Abeta oligomers has been proposed to be largely responsible for AD dementia and memory deficits in the Tg2576 mice, a model of AD. In this study, we found that a naturally derived grape seed polyphenolic extract can significantly inhibit amyloid beta-protein aggregation into high-molecular-weight oligomers in vitro. When orally administered to Tg2576 mice, this polyphenolic preparation significantly attenuates AD-type cognitive deterioration coincidentally with reduced HMW soluble oligomeric Abeta in the brain. Our study suggests that grape seed-derived polyphenolics may be useful agents to prevent or treat AD”.
This fertility mineral is well-known for supporting nail, skin and hair health, enhancing the senses of smell and taste, boosting immunity and wound healing. ZINC would appear to offer more health benefits with some studies suggesting that ageing people with low blood and serum levels of Zinc tended to suffer from depression and anxiety. The brain and mind of ageing persons tend to sway in Zinc deficiency as well in magnesium and selenium deficiencies, thereby underscoring the value of micronutrients in brain health. The University of Maryland Medical Center confirms that Zinc deficiency is common among old persons and that daily diet supplementation of 30-40mg of the diet may help their “cognition functioning and memory of those suffering from dementia”.
In the 1990s, this proprietary product from KASLY for blood circulation and heart health was popular in the Nigerian health food store. It won the hearts of many people because of a 1% camphor content which was thought to re-established circulation within ten minutes or fewer in frosted hand experiments. I believe it would help dementia and other allied challenges caused by poor brain circulation. The product statement says:
“Cardiotonic Pills works by stimulating the nerve endings, lowering the blood pressure and peripheral vascular resistance, decreasing the blood viscosity, possessing the strong ferrous ion chelating activity, blocking the nitric oxide, tumor necrosis factor, possessing the activity due to the presence of panaxatriol saponins content; eradicating the blood stasis thus promote blood circulation; decreasing the blood’s ability to clot and promotes blood flow. Cardiotonic Pills is used for Cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, Itching, Toenail, Warts, Cold sores, Hemorrhoids, Osteoarthritis, Used for incense and perfumes, Cerebral ischemia, Inflammation and other conditions”.
Since the use of cardiovascular medicines is popularly used in the treatment of vascular and mixed dementia, Cardiotonic Pill may be tried by challenged persons.
DOCOSAHEXAENOIC ACID (DHA)
This is a component of fish oil, which has been found to be an important factor in brain health. Science journals report several population studies which suggest that cognitive decline and dementia caused by, say, Alzheimer’s disease are common among people who do not consume enough Omega-3 fatty acids with diet. A common source of Omega-3 oil is fatty fish such as Sardine, Marcel and Titus. Researchers suggest a wide gulf between Omega-3 and Omega-6 consumption. Omega-6 comes chiefly from vegetable oils. The widespread of inflammatory diseases, which are precursors of many degenerative diseases worldwide today, has led researchers to suggest that mankind has moved away from a natural dictate of 1:1 Omega-3 and Omega-6 ratio in the diet to a 1:16 or 20 ratio. Omega-6 promotes inflammation, which is good for health in some cases but dangerous when it persists for too long. Omega-6 is anti-inflammatory and, therefore, health-friendly.
In the introduction of the book FISH OIL: THE NATURAL ANTI-INFLAMMATORY written by Joseph C. Maroon and Jeffrey Bost, we are told:
“Did you know that the root cause of serious chronic diseases such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, arthritis, and asthma has been identified as chronic inflammation? Although numerous studies have confirmed these findings, few, physicians are aware of or consider the fact that the battle against inflammation is at the forefront of the fight for the health and well-being of the global population. Pharmaceutical companies have spent billions of dollars in an attempt to understand the biochemistry of inflammation. Unfortunately, pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories such as Celebrex, Vioxx, and Bextra have been shown to greatly increase the risk of heart attack, stroke and uncontrollable gastric haemorrhage, with potentially fatal consequences. Is there a safe alternative? Absolutely! The answer lies in the power of the Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil undeniable the most under-recognized and also the most potent natural anti-inflammatory available”.
“More than a dozen epidemiological studies have reported that reduced levels or intake of omega-3 fatty acids or fish consumption is associated with increased risk for age-related cognitive decline or dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Increased dietary consumption or blood levels of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) appear protective for AD and other dementia in multiple epidemiological studies; however, three studies suggest that the ApoE4 genotype limits protection. DHA is broadly neuroprotective via multiple mechanisms that include neuroprotective DHA metabolites, reduced arachidonic acid metabolites, and increased trophic factors or downstream trophic signal transduction. DHA is also protective against several risk factors for dementia including head trauma, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. DHA is specifically protective against AD via additional mechanisms: It limits the production and accumulation of the amyloid beta peptide toxin that is widely believed to drive the disease; and it also suppresses several signal transduction pathways induced by Abeta, including two major kinases that phosphorylate the microtubule-associated protein and promote neurofibrillary tangle pathology.
“Based on the epidemiological and basic research data, expert panels have recommended the need for clinical trials with omega-3 fatty acids, notably DHA, for the prevention or treatment of age-related cognitive decline with a focus on the most prevalent cause, AD. Clinical trials are underway to prevent and treat AD. Results to-date suggest that DHA may be more effective if it is begun early or used in conjunction with antioxidants”.
One of such study was carried out in the United Kingdom decades ago. At that time, DHA was not formulated into infant food formulas. The study sought to find out the effects of diet supplementation on dull school children. Free DHA supplements were given to school children during a long vacation. The study produced dramatic results as shown in the case of a schoolboy called BEST. He was a bottom-of-the-class boy. But back from that long vacation, be began to show more interest in schoolwork, paid more attention to homework and showed a longer attention span. In the next examination, he rose to the top of the class. His example of how DHA may boost brain health and activity earned banner headlines such as BEST IS BEST! Today DHA is formulated into infant formula in many countries. It is present in MY CHOCO, a global antioxidant and polyphenols international cocoa drink for children and adults now fast selling in Nigeria.
Asians describe this herb as a longevity medicine, claiming it made some persons live for more than 200 years. While this may be debatable, science gives Gotu Kola several testimonials as a health-promoting herb, including enviable ones for blood circulation, nerve and brain function.
A 2012 study on mice with Alzheimer’s disease said it had positive effects on behavioural abnormalities in the mice. Other studies suggest that it may act as an anti-depressant, helps in Alzheimer’s disease, boosts cognitive function and curb stress and anxiety in the brain. Insomnia, inflammation and sluggish circulation are improved. Wound healing and, scarring and detoxification are in the basket as well.
We overlook natural foods and drinks in health, especially dementia therapies. But listen to what Google says about Cocoa:
“The cocoa drinks contained flavanols, which are thought to reduce the risk of dementia by protecting brain cells from damage and increasing blood flow around the brain. Those on the highest and medium concentration cocoa drinks had the best improvements in their cognitive tests”.