Second Level Medications Doses Actions Side Effects

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Vitamins A and C

The main reason that vitamins A and C did not make it to the first level is that they have not been rigorously tested against memory loss. Nevertheless, their powerful antioxidant properties, which in animal models have tended to exceed those of vitamin E, suggest potent antiaging and antimemory loss effects. I also like the fact that they are natural vitamins with few risks attached to their use. Vitamin A supplementation requires 10,000 to 50,000 units daily, or 10,000 to 25,000 units daily when combined with 15 mg beta-carotene. Vitamin C is found in abundance in grapefruits, oranges, and other citrus fruits, but if you wish to try higher doses, take 1 to 5 grams daily in tablet form. Because vitamin C is water soluble, there is no harm in taking even megadoses, because the kidneys can promptly flush them out in the urine. In contrast, megadoses of the fat-soluble vitamins A and E can cause toxicity.


Aspirin's anticoagulant effects help protect against ministrokes, a common cause of memory loss during the aging process. If you have any risk factors for stroke, such as high cholesterol, smoking, or a positive family history of stroke, an aspirin daily (or even a baby aspirin daily) is a good idea. Its anti-inflammatory properties may also be useful in delaying the onset of Alzheimer's disease, and memory loss more generally. Use aspirin with caution if you're prone to stomach upset or irritation (or ulcer), and avoid it if you have bleeding tendencies or are taking anticoagulants.

Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo biloba joins phosphatidylserine as an alternative medication that makes the list. EGb 761 is the best-studied form of ginkgo biloba, and can be taken in doses of 120 mg daily. While there is evidence for ginkgo's effectiveness against memory loss, my hesitation in placing it in the first-level category is that the size of its effects against age-related memory loss is very small. Bleeding has been reported when ginkgo is combined with anticoagulant medications; therefore, be cautious about combining it with Vitamin E or aspirin.

Selegiline (Deprenyl)

Selegiline (Deprenyl or Eldepryl) has many actions, including antioxidant properties, that make it an effective antiaging compound. Although its effects in delaying functional deterioration were comparable to those of vitamin E in a recent Alzheimer's study, its use did not lead to improvement in performance on cognitive tests. Like vita min E, it may be more useful in long-term prevention than it is in treating people who already have memory loss. The recommended dose for this prescription medication is 5 to 15 mg daily.

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