Compromised brain function is becoming a health issue for an increasing number of the world’s population.  Nearly 18 million people worldwide have some form of dementia which is defined as the progressive deterioration of cognitive and intellectual function.  While dementia is primarily associated with the aging process, many millions more of all ages suffer from neurological malfunctions which lead to depression, anxiety, hyperactivity, attention deficit disorders and a variety of other ailments.  Some diseases associated with malfunction of brain and central nervous system tissue result from specific breakdown of such tissue.        

Alzheimer's disease:       

       Alzheimer’s disease is the leading form of dementia.  With Alzheimer’s disease, a sticky protein, called beta-amyloid, forms a plaque that gets in between and inside brain cells and virtually chokes them to death.  This results in interrupted communication between neurons and actual damage to the neurons resulting in cognitive failure. The formation of beta-amyloid appears to result from the activity of a class of enzymes called secretases. Current research is focusing on producing drugs that will inhibit secretases.  This disease primarily strikes the hippocampus, a structure deep in the brain.  Alzheimer’s leads to increasing deterioration of cognition and memory.

Parkinson’s disease:

       Parkinson’s disease results in body tremors, slowed movement and rigidity. It is linked to the progressive deterioration of cells in the brain that produce the neurotransmitter dopamine.  This transmitter is responsible for conveying messages from the brain which control muscle movement and balance.  Our bodies produce dopamine in abundance and we can lose over 75% of these transmitters before we experience the symptoms of Parkinson’s.  Loss of cells producing dopamine is associated with head injuries and the inability of the body to get rid of toxic substances such as pesticides and herbicides.

Multiple Sclerosis:

       Multiple Sclerosis (MS) literally means “many scars.”  It involves the scaring of nerve cell fibers in the brain and spinal cord where the fatty insulation, the myelin sheath which covers these fibers, has deteriorated.  This results in interference with the transmission of electrical messages between the central nervous system and the rest of the body.   MS, while being a neurological problem, is classified as an autoimmune disease where the body’s own immune system attacks the protein in the myelin sheath. MS can lead to numbness and tingling in the limbs, visual disturbances and paralysis.  

Lou Gehrig’s disease:

       Lou Gehrig’s disease, (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis [ALS]) occurs when motor neurons in the brain and spinal column begin to die.  Their death reduces the brains ability to control muscle movement and the patient begins to lose control over most body functions.  Most individuals diagnosed with ALS die within five years.  Scaring, similar to what is seen with MS occurs in the nerve cell fibers.  Studies indicate that one cause of ALS may be an overabundance of the neurotransmitter glutamate which nerve cells rely on to transmit signals.  Excessive oxidative damage has also been identified as a significant factor in ALS. 

Drugs for Alzheimer's:

       Scientists are currently testing over 90 drugs to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease.  Five drugs are currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating the cognitive symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. Four of these drugs, Reminyl, Exelon, Aricept and Cognex, act in different ways to delay the breakdown of acetylcholine, a chemical in the brain that facilitates communication among nerve cells and is important for memory. Alzheimer's disease is associated with inadequate levels of this neurotransmitter.  Unfortunately, at least half of the people who take these drugs do not respond to them.

Niacinamide and Alzheimer's:

       Recent research conducted by Dr. Kim Green and a team of researchers at the University of California at Irvine used niacinamide in the treatment of mice having been specially bred to get Alzheimer’s.  This research produced encouraging results in restoring cognitive function.  Niacinamide is a buffered form of vitamin B-3 (niacin).  While the niacinamide didn't have any effect on reducing the beta-amyloid already formed, it did cause a 60 percent decrease in tau protein. Tau protein is found in neurons, primarily in the central nervous system. In 2002, a group of Northwestern University neuroscientists reported evidence showing that tau protein must be present to enable beta-amyloid to induce the degeneration of brain cells that occurs in Alzheimer’s disease.

       Niacinamide was also found to increase the number of microtubules which carry information inside brain cells. Microtubules are like highways inside cells. Niacinamide appears to make these “highways” wider and more stable.  In Alzheimer's disease, these highways break down. Niacinamide appears to prevent this from happening.

       The mice in this study, within four months of the beginning of treatment, showed remarkable recovery of cognitive function when being given niacinamide.  They performed as though they never had the disease.  Although there haven’t been any completed human studies to date (there are some studies in progress), the results of the animal research are strong enough to suggest niacinamide may provide the same result in humans. Results obtained in animal research have often been demonstrated to cross over to humans.  Niacinamide has been used extensively for many purposes for over 60 years and has a record of being very safe. 

       Naturopathic doctor Jonathan V. Wright has had success in giving 1,000 milligrams three times a day to patients with Alzheimer’s for a total of 3000 milligrams per day.  This dosage is based on the experience of another doctor whose clinical work showed that spreading out the total amount was significantly more effective than using it all at once. This dosage is also the human equivalent of the amount given to the mice who recovered from the symptoms of Alzheimer's in the study mentioned above.

       When trying niacinamide, be sure it is niacinamide you take and not niacin. Niacin in high dosage will cause flushing of the skin and can be hard on the liver.  Niacinamide is very affordable and can be obtained in a variety of dosage amounts.  We carry several brands and dosages amounts of niacinamide at Milk ‘N Honey. 

Nutrition and brain health:

        Like all body tissue, the brain requires a wide variety of nutritional components on a daily basis in order to function at a viable level and avoid becoming diseased.  Guarding the brain from oxidative and inflammatory attack is also critical to maintaining its proper function.  Avoiding processed and refined foods with their many chemical additives is a good place to start in keeping the brain running smoothly.  Pesticides, herbicides, preservatives, coloring agents and many other additives present a real challenge to neurological function.  You can do much to avoid these chemical agents by eating organically produced foods which will be relatively free of these substances.     

       In addition to eating a whole food diet, supplementation with a high quality green food concentrate, and a quality multivitamin/mineral supplement will give your brain added support and protection.  The omega-3 fatty acids found in flax oil and various fish oils are critical to proper neurotransmission.  Research indicates the omega-3 fatty acid DHA found in certain fish oils actually help prevent the development of the beta-amyloid plaques found with Alzheimer’s disease.  In a recent study involving mice, those mice fed a diet rich in DHA containing foods were found to have only about 30% of the amount of this plaque as compared to mice given little or no DHA in their diet. This same study indicated that consumption of curcumin, which is found in the herb turmeric, also reduced the development of this brain plaque.  

       Foods high in antioxidants will offer protection against oxidative/free radical damage to neurons.  Eat foods with high ORAC ratings.  ORAC stands for “oxygen radical absorbing capacity.”  For example, blueberries have an ORAC rating of 3000 which is very high.  Turmeric has an even higher rating. In addition to its antioxidant value, research has shown that the curcumin found in turmeric prevents the accumulation of beta-amyloid and even promotes the destruction of existing plaque formed by beta-amyloid protein.

       In recent years, a number of products have become available where manufactures have extracted curcumin from turmeric.  Such products are often advertized as natural anti-inflammatories.  However, research done with curcumin reveals it is poorly absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract.  The intake of large amounts of curcumin is needed in order for it to show up in the blood.  The challenge has been to get adequate levels of curcumin into the blood stream to allow for its therapeutic effect.

       In an effort to solve this problem of poor absorption, the company New Chapter manufactures a curcumin product called Turmeric Force which provides not only the curcumin but also the other curcuminoids found in turmeric along with other constituents present in this herb.  It is New Chapter’s belief that all the components of turmeric need to be present in order for this herb to be adequately absorbed and utilized by the body. Another curcumin product that has shown excellent results is Curamin from the company EuroPharma.  This product contains a very absorbable form of curcumin called BCM-95.  BCM-95 is a blend of curcuminoids and the essential oil of turmeric.  We carry Turmeric Force and Curamin at Milk ‘N Honey. 

Exercise and brain health:

        Exercise and mental stimulation have been clinically shown to increase and preserve overall brain function.  Exercise increases oxygen and blood flow to the brain.  Increased blood flow increases delivery of nutrients.  The cells of our body contain little energy producing factories called mitochondria.  These mitochondria are lung like organelles that mix oxygen with nutrients to provide the body’s energy, including brain energy.  Aerobic exercise, (exercise that allows for the uptake of more oxygen than when resting), will multiply the number of mitochondria in the cells one to two times over that of an unfit person.  The size of the mitochondria can increase up to 40% and the enzymes that are involved in energy production can be increased anywhere from ten to one-hundred percent. Typical forms of aerobic exercise include walking, running, rebounding, swimming, biking and any other exercise that raises the heart rate above resting levels for an extended period of time.

       Mental stimulation provides for greater neurological activity.  Activities such as reading, working crossword puzzles and playing chess have been shown to actually slow down the advancement of Alzheimer’s. 


         Lecithin is a commercially produced grouping of fatty acids usually extracted from soybeans.  Lecithin is believed to facilitate the production of the neurotransmitter Acetylcholine due to its high content of phosphatidylcholine (PC) which supplies choline. Choline is an essential nutrient in the production of Acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is the most abundant neurotransmitter in the brain.  Neurons require large amounts of PC for their repair and maintenance.  PC is also required for the growth of new neurons.  In addition to containing PC, lecithin also contains phosphatidylinositol and phosphatidylserine. Phosphatidylinositol is essential for the optimal function of acetylcholine and the important neurotransmitter serotonin.  Phosphatidylserine (PS), at 300 - 400 mg per day, may alleviate many of the symptoms associated with early Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia:  Studies have shown that 300 mg of PS per day for eight weeks restores the EEG (electroencephalography) patterns of Alzheimer’s Disease patients to normal, while 400 mg of PS per day improves brain glucose metabolism, normalizes EEG patterns and improves cognition. Lecithin is available at Milk ‘N Honey in bulk granules and in capsules.  We also have Phosphatidylserine, choline and inositol available in capsule and tablet form.  


        Acetyl-l-Carnitine (ALC) is a derivative of the amino acid L Carnitine.  Several major studies have shown that regular supplementation with ALC significantly slows the progression of Alzheimer’s by slowing the loss of memory, attention, language skills, and spatial abilities.   Dr. Bruce Ames analyzed 21 double-blind clinical trials using ALC to treat mild cognitive impairment and mild Alzheimer’s disease.  These clinical trials showed significant improvement in cognitive ability.  Acetyl-l-Carnitine is available at Milk 'N Honey.


       Vinpocetine is a compound derived from the seeds of the periwinkle plant.  This supplement has been shown to significantly slow down the decline in the neurotransmitter dopamine.  As shown above, dopamine loss is a significant risk factor in the development of Parkinson’s disease.  Research shows vinpocetine improves blood circulation to the brain which results in improved glucose and oxygen utilization which in turn improves all areas of mental function.  Vinpocetine is available at Milk ‘N Honey. 

Ginkgo Biloba:

        Ginkgo Biloba is a large tree which is native to China but grows in many parts of the world including the US.  Extracts from the leaves of the Ginkgo tree have remarkable ability to improve blood circulation to the extremities of the body and particularly the small capillaries in the brain. Ginkgo improves alertness by increasing the brain’s alpha wave rhythms and decreasing the brain’s theta wave activity.  Ginkgo appears to inhibit the destruction of neurons by amyloid-beta protein as seen in Alzheimer’s disease.  Some research indicates that Ginkgo Biloba taken at 240 mg per day may improve attention span, mental function, mood and memory, and may decrease anxiety in Alzheimer's patients. Ginkgo has been shown to increase levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin and block brain chemicals that block neurotransmission.  Ginkgo Biloba may alleviate some of the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis by counteracting the toxic effects of excessive Platelet Aggregating Factor in MS patients. At Milk ‘N Honey, we carry a variety of Ginkgo Biloba products.

Huperzine A:

        Huperzine A is an extract of club moss and has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries.  This substance has the ability to inhibit the enzyme acetylcholinesterase which breaks down the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.  This enzyme is overactive in Alzheimer’s patients leading to lower than adequate levels of acetylcholine which leads to impaired cognitive function. Most Alzheimer’s drugs are designed to inhibit acetylcholinesterase.  Clinical studies have determined that 82% of Alzheimer’s patients receiving Huperzine A experience memory and learning improvement. It should also be noted that a 2005 British study found that broccoli, potatoes, oranges, apples and radishes contain chemical compounds that inhibit acetylcholinesterase.  

       The oils of rosemary and Spanish sage also act as acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. In clinical trials, Spanish sage given to those with Alzheimer’s resulted in improved attention and focus.  At Milk ‘N Honey, we make available huperzine A as a stand alone product and rosemary and Spanish sage as part of the formula Mental Advantage from the company EuroPharma.      


       Recently, a supplement called Prevagen was introduced into the marketplace. This product provides the body with a calcium binding protein that helps regulate the amount of calcium that is able to enter a brain cell. It has been observed that two much calcium entering brain cells leads to their destruction. As we grow older, our bodies produce less of this calcium binding protein resulting in greater loss of brain cells. Some users of Prevagen have reported improved memory and overall cognitive function upon using Prevagen for 60 to 90 days.  Prevagen is available at Milk 'N Honey.


       Another recent product introduced to the market place is Cognitex by the nutrition company Life Extension.  It contains a number of compounds that have been shown to enhance cognition.  It contains Gastrodin which has a calming effect on brain cells and improves circulation to the brain.  It contains Alpha-glyceryl phosphoryl choline which has been shown to boost acetylcholine levels. As explained above, acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that enables brain cells to communicate. Cognitex contains phosphatidylserine which studies show improves cognitive skills such as memory and concentration. Cognitex is available at Milk ‘N Honey.

       In addition to those products already discussed, Milk ‘N Honey carries a number of brain formulas that provide various combinations of the ingredients described above.  These products include Sharp Mind from Solaray, Ginkgo Smart and Brain Awake from Irwin Naturals and Remember from Enzymatic Therapy.  We also carry Mind Force from New Chapter.  This product contains several mushroom extracts including Lion’s Mane which studies show is effective in increasing cognitive function including improved memory in those experiencing build-up of beta amyloid.  As discussed above, beta amyloid is associated with the development of Alzheimer’s disease.