I recently attended a lecture at a local conference given by a colleague Dr. Ben Lynch ND. The subject of his talk was MTHFR. This acronym stands for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. It is an enzyme in the methlyation cycle that converts 5,10-methylene THF into 5-methyl THF. It is basically involved in converting to the most active form of folate in the body. It has been shown that there are individuals with genetic defects of this particular enzyme, which does not allow for the conversion to active folate and as such, they may suffer from a host of metabolic and physiological challenges.
While most studies on red yeast rice supplements have focused on their use in managing cardiovascular health and diabetes, there is evidence to support beneficial effects of Ankascin on memory and overall brain function.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, and affects about 300,000 Canadians over the age of 6532. The number of new cases in Canada has risen dramatically (over 20%) in the past 10 years. The main symptoms include memory loss, declining language skills, and loss of the ability to care for oneself.
Unfortunately, since there is no cure, most treatment efforts focus on managing symptoms and reducing the loss of capabilities that come with advanced disease.
A number of important features of Alzheimer’s disease are visible when the brain is examined under the microscope. A loss of brain cells causes the brain to shrink dramatically.
The area most affected by this loss is called the hippocampus, which is a major part of the brain involved in formation of new memories. Not surprisingly, memory loss, and a difficulty in forming new memories, are the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s disease. The brain of an Alzheimer’s patient also becomes filled with hard, dense material called amyloid plaques. Unlike the cholesterol plaques that form in blood vessels, these ones are made from aggregates of a protein called amyloid beta. Whereas amyloid beta is normally removed quickly from a healthy brain, in Alzheimer’s disease the protein accumulates to form plaques that are highly toxic to brain cells. Scientists believe that it is this accumulation of amyloid beta into plaques that causes Alzheimer’s disease. Consequently, research and treatment efforts have focused on ways to either prevent production of amyloid beta, or to remove it from the brain before it aggregates into amyloid plaques.
The important events in the development of Alzheimer’s disease – specifically, amyloid beta aggregation, plaque formation, and brain shrinkage – begin approximately 30 years before any symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease appear. Given that the resulting damage to the brain is irreversible, it becomes critically important to prevent the onset of disease through
32. Public Health Agency of Canada. Dementia in Canada, including Alzheimer’s disease.