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Dr Jeff Braverman
Dr Dana Myatt

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HealthBeat News

HealthBeat Update: Memory-Boosting Supplements: Improving mental function

Alpha-Lipoic Acid is a neurological antioxidant that chelates free iron from the forebrain, thereby protecting against free radical damage. It also improves mitochondrial function (mitochondria are the energy-producing units of cells). It works especially well in conjunction with CoQ10 and acetyl-L-carnitine to improve energy production. Because of its utility for preventing brain aging and preserving neurological function, plus its use in cataract prevention, diabetes, congestive heart failure and neurological diseases, it can correctly be classified as an important anti-aging/ life-extending nutrient.

Acetyl-L-Carnitine, a derivative of the amino acid L-Carnitine, is a vitamin-like compound that transports fatty acids ("fuel") into the body cells. It also acts as a powerful antioxidant in the brain. The acetyl form of L-Carnitine (ALC) has been shown to be substantially more active than L-Carnitine in brain cells.

ALC has been the subject of numerous studies. It bears a close similarity to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which led researchers to study its use in age-related memory changes. ALC has been proven to offer significant benefit to patients with early-onset Alzheimer's disease and also for people with memory impairment and age-onset depression.

L-Carnitine and its more active form, A-LC have also been shown to be effective as part of weight (fat) loss programs, enhancing the body's fat-burning ability. This effect proves true even when no deficiency of carnitine is present, meaning that all overweight people will benefit.

Suggest Dose of Each: Acetyl-L-Carnitine: 500mg (1 cap) per day; Alpha Lipoic Acid: 200mg (2 caps) per day.

Ginkgo biloba: Memory enhancement for those over 50 (and those under 50 too!) Ginkgo biloba is one of the most well studied herbs for age related memory changes. Ginkgo is a potent antioxidant. It also increases circulation to small diameter blood vessels (such as those in the brain and extremities.) Studies have verified ginkgo's efficacy in early-stage Alzheimer's, multiple infarct dementia (memory changes caused by "mini-strokes"), age related depression, glaucoma, impotence (erectile dysfunction,) MS and vascular insufficiency. It also has anti-allergy effects that make it useful for treatment of chronic respiratory allergies and asthma.

Ginkgo is one of the best-selling natural remedies worldwide. It should be part of the longevity protocol for anyone over the age of 50.

Suggested dose: 1 cap, 2 times per day. (target dose: 240 mg per day of 24% flavoneglycosides)

Phosphatidyle serine (PS): Improved Brain-Cell Function. Phosphatidyle serine (PS) is responsible for normal fluidity and membrane integrity of the brain cells. These functions allow brain cells to communicate efficiently with each other.

The body manufactures PS. Lowered levels of PS are seen in aging in association with impaired mental function and depression in the elderly.

Eleven double-blind studies have verified the effectiveness of PS. Significant improvements were seen in mental performance, behavior, mood, and age-related cognitive decline.

Suggested dose: 1 cap (100 mg PS,) 3 times per day.

B Vitamins, Magnesium and Maxi-Multi: The B Vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, folic acid, B12) are all vitally important and work together to regulate energy processes at the cellular level, and by doing so they are vital to the function of nerve and brain cells. Magnesium is a mineral that also plays a big role in energy processes and brain and nerve cell function.

Maxi-Multi is your very best way to be sure you are receiving optimal amounts of these vitamins and minerals, without having to take four or more separate formulas each day. Maxi-Multi provides you with: 1. High potency multiple vitamin / mineral / trace mineral supplement, 2. High potency B complex vitamins, 3. High potency antioxidants (A, carotenes, C, E, selenium, zinc & bioflavinoids) 4. High potency calcium / magnesium (1000 mg / 500 mg). If you only take one nutritional supplement, this should be the one! If you are taking any other "daily vitamin" supplement, do yourself a favor and compare the labels - you'll see why Maxi-Multi is the way to go. The addition of Plant Enzymes ensures absorption of nutrients. This formula is hypoallergenic and suitable for even highly sensitive individuals.

Ask Dr. Myatt: Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy

Q: I am a postmenopausal woman who never took hormone replacement therapy (HRT). I feel I weathered this change of life pretty well. However, I have developed a chronic vaginal itch that my doctor feels is due to a thinning and drying out of the vaginal tissue. He has prescribed premarin vaginal cream (applied intravaginally) starting at twice a week and then just once a week on an on-going basis. I am hoping that there is a more natural way of dealing with this irritating problem. Any suggestions?

A: Natural hormone replacement therapy is one of the best anti-aging measures a person (male or female) can take. Please read more about "The Climacteric" in your Holistic Health handbook, pages 73-76.

Even with only minimal symptoms of hormone deficiency (the vaginal dryness), I still recommend natural hormone replacement therapy (n-HRT). The key word here is "natural." The hormones used for such are still prescription, but they are custom-tailored to your needs and hormone profile results, not "generic." Further, they are "bio identical" to your body's own hormones, meaning that they are the same hormones and given in similar doses to that of a younger female, not synthetic or un-natural hormones, which cause more health problems than they cure. (Premarin is so named because of its origin: Pregnant Mare's Urine. I kid not! This stuff is natural for a pregnant horse, but not for a postmenopausal human female!)

Natural hormone replacement therapy may include any or all of the three female estrogens, progesterone, testosterone and DHEA. Maintenance of cardiovascular health, bone density, protection against breast and other hormones related cancers, maintenance of youthful skin tone, prevention of age-related mood and mental changes are all part of the benefit you can expect from same.

How to go about this? First, you need a complete female hormones profile. I prefer the saliva test method because it gives an "average" look at your hormones instead of blood testing, which gives only a 'snapshot" look. Please refer to page 135 in your Holistic Health Handbook. The complete profile costs $129 and that's a bargain for all the information we get.

Secondly, you'll need to hook up with a physician who is trained in hormone replacement therapy, especially natural hormone replacement therapy. Since I have been doing this my entire career (14 years now), "I" come readily to mind to help you with this. Since you are post-menopausal, the "finishing touches" on your corrective hormones will take only a few "tweaks," and won't change significantly over the years.

Let me know if I can help you get on some corrective natural hormones. You will age more gracefully and gently if you decide to go this route, and minimize opportunities for illness to get a foothold. Oh, yes, and it should take care of your vaginal dryness handily!

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