Lunes 1 de Julio de 2002, Ip nš 18

Dr. Sanjay Gupta: Vitamins and Alzheimer's
CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta discussed the studies Wednesday with CNN anchor Bill Hemmer.

GUPTA: [There are] 360,000 new cases every year of Alzheimer's just in this country, and here's an interesting statistic. In this country, if you live to be over 85, you have a 50 percent chance almost of developing it. So it's certainly one of those diseases of old age.

... I guess it's no surprise that eating your vitamins can actually help all sorts of different things now, including Alzheimer's. And we have certainly learned about vitamin E and C in the past, but two new studies are going a little further in terms of not only speculating how they work but also how well they work. Vitamins E and C, I actually brought right here. A lot of foods I go over as well that contain these vitamins.

But basically in a nutshell, the way these vitamins probably work is that as your brain ages, you start to develop potentially damaging cells, and these damaging cells, once they start floating around the brain, can actually attack some of the good cells. Those are called free radicals. The name is not that important, but these vitamins will go in there and sweep these free radicals up, possibly delaying even preventing the onset of Alzheimer's.

It's hard to prove this because it's very hard to look back at a person 85 years of age and look at their dietary patterns over several years, but this is some pretty good research.

HEMMER: Let me throw an obvious question at you, vitamins C and E, we find them mostly where?

GUPTA: Lots of foods, and that's a good thing. And I brought lots of different foods here to show you, vitamin C first -- cantaloupes, all sorts of different citrus fruits, cabbage, peppers, even potatoes. Vitamin E -- you've got whole grains, you got nuts, you got eggs, egg yolks specifically.

HEMMER: You got breakfast, right?

GUPTA: Low-fat milk. So there are certainly some good sources in common everyday foods.

HEMMER: Do you recommend -- do you tell people that food is the best way to get your vitamins, or is that the reason why so many of us chew on those horse pills every morning?

GUPTA: Well, I'll tell you, it's an interesting question. We actually have done some digging into that very point. It's probably best to eat your vitamins -- eat it in food that is as opposed to taking supplements.

A couple of reasons for that. One is that there is a great synergy of nutrients in all these foods. Besides just the vitamins themselves -- they do have other nutrients that may be beneficial. Second of all, the foods are usually much more easily absorbed, and because of that, you'll actually get the full benefit of the vitamins.

And finally, a lot of times the supplements don't actually contain the best forms of the vitamins, such as in the case of vitamin E. Some of the supplements contain one form, whereas some of the foods that we have listed out here will actually contain a better form.

HEMMER: Are there foods that give us the most benefit?

GUPTA: There are. There are certainly some foods out there that will give us -- and we talked to people. If you had to sort of pick four foods that will give you the most benefit, whole grains are going to be good for you. Broccoli -- I know you love broccoli -- that's going to be good for you. And you can see the other couple [of] foods out there as well.

One of the other things real quick, if you do have vitamins and you're a vitamin taker -- I know you are.

HEMMER: Yes, I am.

GUPTA: And you want to see just how good your vitamin is. Here's a simple test you can do. Actually take a half a glass of vinegar, which we have here. Heat it up to 98.6 degrees and just drop that pill in there. Stir it around, wait for about 45 minutes.

What you're looking for is to make sure that vitamin is completely dissolved. Why? Because that will be a pretty good indicator of how well that vitamin will be absorbed.

HEMMER: So what do you look for then when it dissolves?

GUPTA: In fact, we did this very test about 45 minutes ago ... and basically stirred that around for several -- about 45 minutes -- and it's completely dissolved, a good vitamin.

HEMMER: I'm lucky enough to remember to take my horse pill, much less drop it into a glass and wait 45 minutes.

GUPTA: Just do that the first time. If you're buying a new brand of vitamin, just check it out, test it out, see how well it ...

HEMMER: Quickly, one thing you've always told me about, when you look at these medical studies, you always look to see the number of people, the sample that's been taken. When we mention these Alzheimer's studies, do they meet your criteria, that you say, you know what, that's a really good sample right there?

GUPTA: Right, that's a very good point, and the sample size actually was a reasonable sample size -- in the several hundreds. The problem is, as I think you're pointing out now appropriately with these Alzheimer's studies, it's very hard to go back and establish that cause and effect. That cause being -- I'm sorry the effect being the improvement in Alzheimer's symptoms or the decrease in symptoms. The cause being the vitamins. Can you link those two exactly? Probably not. Are vitamins still a good thing to take? Absolutely. And probably best in your foods.

  26/06/2002. CNN.