Almost monthly, someone asks me for help because someone they love has just been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. With so many of us happily living longer, our chances of developing this tragic and insidious condition is on the rise. Sadly, there are few of us left whose family and friends have not been touched by Alzheimer’s disease, and it is one of the hardest to bear. It’s like having the proverbial tail cut off, an inch at a time, for both patients and their families. All of us impacted by Alzheimer’s disease share the dread of that eventual day… when our loved one will no longer recognize us.
Even as healthcare professionals, Dr. Sinatra and I have often felt as impotent as everyone else living with Alzheimer’s disease, until we learned of a study that offers a preventive measure you can take, as well as a promise for those unfortunately diagnosed.
So back in 2006, Dr. Sinatra tracked down emerging research showing that coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)—a nutrient he already puts everyone but their brother on—had a preventative effect against Alzheimer’s in the animal model. He began to feel that maybe there’s a way we can steal some thunder from this avaricious disorder of the brain after all.
The April 2006 issue of Behavioral Brain Research contained a report of a study performed at Hamdard University in India, where an international team of investigators tested and reviewed the effects of CoQ10 on young, male rats. Researchers from John Hopkins University (Maryland) and the Pediatric Medical University of South Carolina were notable contributors.
The rats were divided into four groups:
- one received no treatment;
- a second given liquid Q10;
- a third that was injected with a chemical known to induce Alzheimer’s disease; and
- the fourth group received the Alzheimer’s-inducing chemical as well as liquid Q10.
After three weeks, researchers found that the rats getting the chemical but no CoQ10 had suffered a loss of cognitive functioning (in rat terms of course). But the lucky rats that got some CoQ10, along with the risky chemical, were cranking along at about the same cognitive level as their counterparts in the first twp groups.
The most compelling finding in this study was that “significant alteration in the markers of oxidative damage and a decline in the level of ATP were observed in the hippocampus and cerebral cortex of the [chemically-induced] rats.” In layman’s terms, this means that the rats exhibiting Alzheimer-like dementia also had decreased levels of ATP (which generates cellular energy), and amazingly, the rats that had CoQ10 on board were significantly PROTECTED from the neurotoxin.
Lead author Tauheed Ishrat commented that “CoQ10 supplementation improves learning and memory deficits possibly by inhibiting the oxidative stress and improving levels of ATP.”
When it comes to cardiovascular problems, Dr. Sinatra has known about this ATP effect on the heart for years. But to think that those of us taking it may also be protecting our brains from Alzheimer’s as well is really getting mileage out of this nutrient.
For more information on cardiovascular nutrition and Alzheimer's, visit www.drsinatra.com.