There's a great nutrient that looks like a new star in the treatment of Alzheimer's and dementia. I've been using this nutrient since 1988 to treat heavy metal poisonings, diabetes, neuropathy, and liver disease. But now it looks like it can protect your memory, too!

Researchers began to wonder about the potential benefits of alpha lipoic acid (ALA) during a study on neuropathy. They gave a 74-year-old patient ALA during the study. They were surprised to find that it not only helped her neuropathy, but it also slowed her memory loss quite a bit.

Her experience prodded the researchers to study a group of probable Alzheimer's patients (average age 67). They gave each of the participants 600 mg per day of ALA. They found that it did, in fact, keep their cognitive function stable!

So what makes ALA so effective? ALA has the unusual ability to dissolve in both water and fat. This allows it to move easily into any part of your body, including your brain.

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Once it's in your brain, it does several things. First, it removes heavy metals that can poison your brain cells. But, more importantly, ALA is a critical nutrient for your mitochondria, your cells' furnaces. Your mitochondria need ALA to generate energy for your cells.

ALA also improves the blood flow to your brain. It protects cultured neurons from the toxin amyloid. This typically builds up in the brains of Alzheimer's victims. And, finally, ALA recycles glutathione, a detoxifying agent in your cells.

All of these play an important role in treating Alzheimer's disease. So it's no surprise that it can treat any cognitive problems.

If you have any mental decline, consider taking ALA at 600 mg per day. I don't think you need to pay for the expensive time-release ALA or the R-lipoic acid forms. Just regular ALA is all you need. But, there is one caveat. If you take ALA long term, make sure that you get enough vitamin B12 and biotin. ALA can lower your levels of these nutrients. Fortunately, it's an easy problem to fix. You can simply take a supplement with these nutrients. There's no need to take costly tests to monitor your levels.

Ref: Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 2007; 113(1):154-164

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