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Supplement May Help Improve Cognitive Function in People with Alzheimer’s

Every 67 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s disease.  A recent study suggests that a nutraceutical supplement containing vitamin E, folic acid, vitamin B12, and a blend of n-acetyl cysteine, acetyl l-carnitine, and s-adenosyl methionine may help improve standardized test performance and mood in people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Participants in the study included 106 people with Alzheimer’s who were given either the nutraceutical blend or a placebo daily for three months. The researchers measured results using the Clox-1 and the age - and education-adjusted Dementia Rating Scale, both of which are accepted standardized tests for cognitive function.

At the conclusion of the study, the supplement group showed significant improvement in their scores on both tests when compared with the placebo and when compared with their performance at the beginning of the study. The placebo group did not show any improvements on the test.

The study also had an open-label extension period, during which time all participants were eligible to receive the supplement for six additional months. Both groups showed cognitive score improvements, and the placebo group showed improvements that matched the original supplement group.

Finally, the people who took the supplements also had improvements in depression and irritability, which are common in patients with Alzheimer’s. These improvements were harder to measure, however, as they relied mainly on reports from the caregivers.

Researchers from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on January 7, 2015, in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Previous studies suggest that vitamin B12, aloe vera, omega-3s, and vitamin E supplements may also slow the progression of Alzheimer’s,  which has no cure or known cause.

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