Overliving, Not Overkilling

Q Both of my parents have rapidly failing memories, bad hearts, and bad joints. They were just started on the brand new drug memantine for memory. I want them also to take your nutritional supplement that contains galantamine, lithium, and other ingredients, Phosphatidylserine, and Omega-3 HeartFelt. Is this advisable? Have you looked into this new memantine drug? It’s supposed to be the “latest and greatest.” Also, I’d like them to take DHEA, as well as one of your multivitamins. In your opinion, would I be overloading them with your supplements and the memantine? Would there be overlap?

The doctor wants them to take Aricept also. How does this relate to the above supplements? My father’s homocysteine level is through the roof too, and he is now going to take extra folic acid, along with vitamins C, E, and B12. Am I doing the right thing, in your opinion? I really appreciate your attention. My friend thinks quite highly of you, and I really love your company and have the utmost respect for it. Thanks so much for any further information or help you can give me.

NANCY, New York City

A Memantine, which has actually been around since the mid-1970s, does seem to be quite effective for some people. Because it works via a different mechanism than acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (AChEIs)—it inhibits glutaminergic hyperactivity in Alzheimer’s disease through modulation of NMDA receptors—it is often prescribed for use along with AChEIs, such as galantamine, which your parents’ doctor should consider as a better alternative to Aricept. But they should not take both Aricept and galantamine. Regarding all the other items that you mentioned, there should be no conflict, and we don’t believe that it’s a case of overkill. Better to strive for “overliving” one’s life, if we can coin a term. Can there be such a thing as too much life, provided that there is good health?

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