By Michael T. Murray, ND
amounts. Low levels of PS in the brain are associated with impaired mental function and depression in the elderly. Over a dozen double-blind studies have shown that phosphatidylserine can improve mental function, mood, and behavior in patients with degenerative brain disorders. The recommended dosage is 100 mg three times daily. Curcumin, the yellow pigment of turmeric, is showing incredible promise as a brain protector, including an ability to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Residents of rural India, who eat large amounts of turmeric, have been shown to have the lowest incidence of Alzheimer’s disease in the world: 4.4 times lower than that of Americans. In addition, researchers have also demonstrated that curcumin is able to prevent the
development of Alzheimer’s brain lesions in mice speciﬁcally bred to develop the disease. And it may actually reverse the tangled mess of damaged brain cells that characterize Alzheimer’s disease. Of course, turmeric (which contains curcumin, the main component of Indian curries) can be liberally consumed in the diet, but taking a curcumin extract may prove to be very important in the battle against agerelated memory loss, as well as more serious conditions. UCLA is currently conducting research with a special, highly absorbable form of curcumin called Theracurmin. Dosage recommendation is 60 mg two to three times daily.
Herbal Approaches The herb Ginkgo biloba is a popular natural approach to boosting brain power. Use 60–120 mg of a standardized extract (24 percent ginkgo ﬂavone glycosides) one to two times daily. Do not take ginkgo with blood thinners. Traditionally used to enhance memory, learning, and concentration in Ayurvedic medicine, bacopa is another popular herbal brain booster. Emerging clinical evidence is validating its beneﬁts. In one study, 46 healthy volunteers (ages 18–60) were divided into treatment and placebo groups. Participants were given 300 mg daily of a bacopa extract. At the end of the 12-week study, there was a signiﬁcant improvement in verbal learning, memory, and information processing in the bacopa group as compared to the placebo group.
What is MCI? Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a newly recognized medical condition that involves the stage between normal, age-related cognitive decline and the more serious decline associated with dementia. People experiencing MCI can have problems with memory, language, thinking, and judgment that generally aren’t severe enough to cause signiﬁcant problems in their day-to-day lives and usual activities. MCI may increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or some form of dementia, but not everyone
with MCI gets dementia. Because MCI is a new diagnosis and aﬀects up to 42 percent of seniors, pharmaceutical companies have been busy formulating drugs to seize market share. Alzheimer’s medications known as “cognitive enhancers” are becoming popular for treating MCI; however, despite their popularity, the drugs have not been shown to provide any beneﬁt. Worse, these drugs have the potential to cause signiﬁcant side eﬀects. One such drug, tacrine (Cognex), has already been removed from the market. HEALTH & HAPPINESS
11/29/16 9:55 AM