Early Alzheimer’s Disease
Aparacida and Lourdes’ story
“She would tell me something and then later she would come and repeat it. I talked to a geriatrician. I said, ‘Doctor, she’s very forgetful.’ She said 'Alright, we’ll do some tests and we’ll see what’s happening.'
It was positive for Alzheimer’s but a mild form of it. The doctor prescribed a nutrient drink. After 5 months mum could feel the results. She felt a lot more like going outside, talking more, seeing friends.
Memory loss in early Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer's disease is a complex condition that starts to develop decades before symptoms appear. Early signs include memory problems and difficulties with complex tasks. These signs can be subtle, and people often think this is a result of ageing. In the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, certain parts of the brain crucial for memory are affected. This causes the frequency and severity of memory lapses to become more obvious than with normal ageing.
Our brain communicates through a vast network of billions of nerve cells. These nerve cells connect with each other through connections called 'synapses'. Throughout our lives we lose and regrow these brain connections. In a healthy brain the number of new synapses generated balances the loss of older ones. In the case of Alzheimer's disease, the rate at which these connections are damaged speeds up so that new ones formed can no longer make up for those lost. This is when the brain network starts to fail and symptoms such as memory loss appear.
The role of nutrition in Alzheimer’s disease
Nutrients within food are important for keeping the brain tissue healthy. Specific key nutrients are important to help build brain connections or synapses.
These nutrients are Omega 3 fatty acids, Uridine, Choline, B Vitamins, Antioxidants, Phospholipids.
Studies have shown that people with early Alzheimer's disease often have low levels of key nutrients, despite eating a normal diet.
Increased intake of these nutrients is necessary because the pathways supporting synapse formation and function depend on them. Research has shown that taking these single nutrients alone or together has not consistently demonstrated benefits in early Alzheimer's disease. In contrast, a multi-nutrient combination, taken daily at the right levels, has shown benefits in clinical trials in early Alzheimer's disease. Other benefits that have been reported by patients taking this multi-nutrient combination are lower levels of apathy, increased energy, alertness and improved mood. This was reported to lead to increasing social interactions, renewed interest in hobbies and restarting activities recently stopped due to the illness.