2 RESEARCH ARTICLES
Shea TB1, Remington R.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW
(1) Evidence for the benefit of nutrition in Alzheimer’s disease continues to accumulate
(2) Many studies with individual vitamins or supplements show marginal, if any, benefit
(3) However, new findings with combinatorial formulations demonstrate improvement in cognitive performance and behavioral difficulties
(1) We present novel positive effects on Alzheimer’s disease derived from diet, trace elements, vitamins and supplements
(2) We discuss the inherent difficulty in conducting nutritional studies because of the variance in participants’ nutritional history, versus pharmacological interventions in which participants are naive to the intervention
(3) We examine the evidence that epigenetics play a role in Alzheimer’s disease and how nutritional intervention can modify the key epigenetic events to maintain or improve cognitive performance.
– Overall consideration of the most recent collective evidence suggests that the optimal approach for Alzheimer’s disease would seem to combine early, multicomponent nutritional approaches (a Mediterranean-style diet, multivitamins and key combinatorial supplements), along with lifestyle modifications such as social activity and mental and physical exercise, with ultimate addition of pharmacological agents when warranted.
Romain Meeusen, PhD- Sports Science Exchange – Gatorade Sports Science Institute
KEY POINTS – PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
(1) Physical activity has been associated with the reduction of a number of physical and mental disorders
(2) There is now ample evidence that physical activity will decrease the incidence of cardiovascular disease, colon and breast cancer and obesity, but also diseases such as Alzheimer’s, depression and anxiety (Gómez-Pinilla, 2011; Van Praag, 2009)
(3) Fatigue during exercise can reside in the brain; Nutritional interventions may influence the occurrence of “central or brain fatigue” during exercise
(4) Exercise training in elderly people increases the size of the hippocampus (an area of the brain that is important for memory)
(5) Exercise positively influences neurotrophic factors (such as BDNF) leading to better learning and memory
KEY POINTS – NUTRITION
(1) A number of large, prospective and cross-sectional observational studies find that the dietary profile benefiting cognitive function with aging contains weekly servings (2-5) of fish and multiple daily servings of cereals, darkly or brightly colored fruits and leafy vegetables (Parrott & Greenwood, 2007)
(2) Nutrition provides building blocks for the brain
(1) Both diet and exercise have therefore been used as interventions to reverse the possible negative effect of ageing in brain function
(2) Exercise and nutrition can slow down and reverse cognitive decline in the elderly
(3) Exercise and nutrition influences brain health through several mechanisms that create new neurons (neurogenesis)