According to a Columbia University study of 548 men and women, ages 67 to 96, over 40 percent were less disoriented and confused when they took vitamin B12 supplements (18). Michael Gold, MD from the University of South Florida College of Medicine in Tampa found thiamine blood levels in patients with senile dementia of the Alzheimer's type were significantly lower than senile patients without Alzheimer's (19).
Phosphatidylserine, the one form of the amino acid serine, also holds promise for memory loss (20) and senility (21). This potent antioxidant (29), with an affinity for brain tissue, increases your brain's ability to grab glucose, it's main food, and allows brain cells to communicate and metabolize better. Alan Miller, ND, a private practitioner from Sandpoint, Idaho, tells of how a woman with Alzheimer's was more alert and involved in daily living after one month on phophatidlyserine.
A Strong Body
Fractured hips and crumbling bones seem to go hand-in-hand with old age. While declining bone mass is an inevitable part of aging, as many as half of all postmenopausal women suffer from osteoporosis or excessive bone loss (22); men are much less vulnerable. We're not sure why people get osteoporosis, though many factors like age, low estrogen, a sedentary life, certain foods, race (Caucasians are more prone than African Americans) and genetic predisposition seem to influence it. Frequent fractures or dull achy backs are one indication you might be osteoporotic. On the other hand, many people have no symptoms whatsoever.
Like so many afflictions of old age, prevention is key. Bone is a living tissue and, like other body systems, needs adequate nutrition to keep it well. Calcium supplementation is important to ensure strong bones, but that's not enough. You also need to minimize those foods that rob your body of calcium such as caffeine, alcohol, smoking, sugar, sodium, phosphates and excessive animal protein (23,24,25,26). Weight bearing exercises will also help you keep the calcium you have.
Other nutrients, in particular vitamin D, increases calcium's efficiency in your body (27). F. Michael Gloth III, MD from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine points out that although Americans tend to have very high vitamin D levels, many elderly folks are deficient. If an older person doesn't get much sunlight, a main source of vitamin D, or takes medications like phenytoin that accelerates vitamin D breakdown then their levels drop. When Dr. Gloth supplemented frail elderly individuals over 65 with low blood levels of vitamin D, they functioned better as their vitamin D status increased. Besides bone health, inadequate vitamin D is also associated with limb pain, muscle weakness and diminished physical function (28).
Old age is inevitable; poor health in old age is not. The more you pay attention to all those factors that wear on your health now--the foods you eat, the environment you live, the nutrients you consume--the less you'll have to worry about Father Time's impact on you in the years to come.
The Latest on Anti-Aging Research
According to Ronald Klatz, DO, President of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, hormones are the key to aging. All hormones diminish with age, says Klatz. Armed with that knowledge, aging--which he calls a disease process--is now treatable using hormones. Our current life spans, claims Klatz, are now approaching 120 years and beyond. Here are a few examples of how various hormones might help you stay younger longer.