ARECITIN - Food supplement with lecithin, zinc and fibre

The frequency of the following sort of questions seems to increase recently: "I seem to keep forgetting things, I can't remember where I gave put my things, I seem unable to concentrate, it is very difficult to learn new things..." And similar: "Can it be treated somehow? Could these be the first symptoms of Alzheimer's disease? Is there any prevention to Alzheimer's?"

I hear these questions most often from patients between 40 and 50 years of age, both men and women, regardless of their level of education. What is behind these problems? During the initial visit, it is of course impossible to rule out a serious illness such as Alzheimer's disease, yet in majority of the cases the cause is different. Dementia is an irreversible loss of mental powers, accompanied by behavioural disorders and personality changes, with negative impact on social and economic activities. The cause of dementia lies in progressive deterioration, mainly in the cerebral cortex. However, memory problems can stem from pronounced fatigue and exhaustion, depression, burnout syndrome, chronic pain, another chronic illness or other causes. First of all, ageing naturally causes certain decrease in mental powers, and the age of 40 is usually the time when people first realise this. This can, however, be exacerbated by ongoing health problems and stress. Majority of population is subjected to continuous stress, for example due to existential insecurity, poor living conditions or other negative factors. Moreover, middle age usually brings a climax in work demands, decisions over children's futures, often combined with caring for ageing and ill parents, or even problems in relationships. There are also other factors of chronic illnesses, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, or hormonal changes in the female organism. The result is often a set disorders: memory lapses, problems with concentration, tiredness, and decreased mental and physical powers. Continued mental stress can be a cofactor in accelerated loss of brain cells, i.e. accelerated ageing of the brain.

Can this situation be helped in any way? The best solution would be to eliminate the cause, yet this is not always possible. However, there is also the possibility of protecting brain cells from ageing and necrosis using substances beneficial to the brain cell metabolism. These substances are called neuroprotective agents. Neuroprotective agents protect neurons from damage, improve their metabolism and blood supply to the brain. The result is an improvement in physical and mental condition, not only at the time of looming age, but in periods of increased physical demands or stress as well.

One of the possibilities to benefit the metabolism of neurons is the protection of their membranes with lecithin. Lecithin is one of phospholipids and is indispensable for the human body. It forms an integral part of cell membranes. The cells of the nervous system, liver, stomach, skin and hair are the most sensitive to lack of lecithin. Lecithin also helps to decrease the levels of LDL cholesterol. Administration of lecithin contributes to elimination of nervousness, improves psychic resilience, memory, concentration capacity and improves the quality of sleep. Lecithin exerts other positive effects outside the nervous system as well: for example, it combats the negative effects of alcohol on liver, improves the metabolism of fats in the body, cleans blood vessels, improves skin condition, and alleviates joint pain. Lecithin is generally lacking in our food due to its industrial processing, such as refining of oil, rushing of grains in flour production, etc. It is therefore highly advisable to supplement lecithin by means of suitable nutritional supplements. One such product is Arecitin, containing not only lecithin but also biogenic elements such as magnesium, calcium, zinc, as well as cellulose. This combination exerts a synergic effect, strengthening the effects of lecithin and extending the period of activity within the body. The inclusion of crushed apples, as a source of fibre, improves digestion. Another advantage of the supplement is its powder form, facilitating its easy inclusion e.g. in yoghurts or similar meals in sufficient quantities.

Some of the chronic stress can be eliminated through alteration of lifestyle. Some duties and chores can certainly be avoided and/or delegated to other people. Mental hygiene requires suitable cleansing activities performed several times a week (sport, hobby, dancing, etc. ), replacing all worries, even if temporarily. Quite often, the use of neuroprotective agents, through improvement of the overall mental and physical fitness, indirectly enables such substantial change in lifestyle.

On the other hand, mere worries about such a grave illness as the Alzheimer's disease act as significant stress factors, causing sleep disorders, irritability, and a loss of appetite, resulting in further decrease in mental resilience, creating a vicious circle. In such cases, I recommend a psychological examination, which can - using specially designed tests - confirm or rule out any serious mental or memory disorders.

It is yet to be discovered why some people suffer from the Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia, and others do not. More than one cause is most likely to be involved. That makes the answer to the prevention issue a complicated one, far from being unambiguous in any way. Prevention of these debilitating conditions can certainly be helped by improved mental hygiene as well as active protection of brain cells using suitable neuroprotective agents.

Zuzana Ritterová, MD