A few years ago (well...more than just a few) Joel and I lived and worked at a group home for the elderly. I worked with the residents more than he did, and many of them suffered from some sort of memory loss - some worse than others. I felt badly when family members would visit (not often enough...but that's another post) and not be instantly known by our residents. While none of them had Alzheimer's, many of them appeared to have some Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI).
I recently attended a webinar about MCI and learned some interesting things. Did you know that losing cognitive ability is the #1 fear among the aging? MCI can now be diagnosed, and is basically the intermediate stage between age-related mental function loss and Alzheimer's. 1 in every 2 people that have MCI develop Alzheimer's...that's alarming!
Congnitive impairment is caused by metabolic and genetic imbalances. Basically, neurons in the brain lose the ability to communicate with each other. Over time, this affects one's cognitive ability altogether.
The webinar I attended introduced me to Cerefolin NAC which is a medical food used to treat MCI. A medical food must be prescribed by a physician, but is not a medicine. Instead, a medical food must meet the following criteria (taken from the Cerefolin NAC website:
1. The active ingredient must be present in/derived from a food.
2. It must be administered enterally (either by mouth or feeding tube, etc).
3. Efficacy/dosing/safety must be proven in peer-reviewed scientific literature
4. It is intended to be used under medical supervision; and
5. Addresses the distinct metabolic requirements of patients with a specific
diagnosed disease(s) or condition(s)
6. All ingredients must be Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS)
I was intrigued by the nutritional aspect of this treatment. Basically, Cerefolin NAC contains active forms of folate and vitamin B12 that cross the blood/brain barrier and work within the brain to repair the damaged neurons. This medical food contains far more than your body can metabolize from food, and helps to make up for decades of lacking nutrition (and I'm certainly NOT going THERE in this post, lol!)
Best of all, since MCI now is an official diagnosis, Cerefolin NAC is covered by many insurance companies and an authorized generic will be coming out this summer.
Joel and I both have grandparents who are aging, and parents (sorry, Mom and Dad) that will be dealing with this sort of thing in the years to come. As my interest in better nutrition grows, I am curious to see if this supplement can really make a difference in the lives of those I love...and perhaps myself someday.
**Disclosure** I was compensated for my time for attending the webinar and for writing this post. The opinions contained are my own, and my compensation was not dependent on writing a favorable post.