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African Americans and Alzheimer’s Disease!


African Americans are at a higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease than any other population group. That statement reflects a sad reality. This article is designed to address this sad reality as well as give you hope and a plan to change it. I’m going to systematically address this health issue as well as several others that affect the African American community. I’ll tie it all together with a clear plan of action.

What is Alzheimer’s disease?
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of adult dementia. Dementia is a brain disorder that causes confusion and problems with memory, judgment, thinking, reasoning and other brain functions. This disease destroys brain cells and shrinks the size of the brain. It is the seventh-leading cause of adult death in the United States. Alzheimer’s disease is currently the number one fear of the Baby Boomer population and the reason why: there is no known cure!

Once you have Alzheimer’s disease it is a continual decline in brain function that affects both you and your family. It is also important to note that Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging.

Other African American Health Issues!
Alzheimer’s disease is not the only health issue facing African Americans. The following health issues affect this ethnic group:

Common Theme!
That’s quite a list of ailments affecting the African American community. If you look closing at each health issue, including Alzheimer’s disease, you will see that they all have a common denominator. That common denominator is your cardiovascular system! Six of these health issues are directly affected by the health of your cardiovascular system. The seventh health issue of overweight/obesity impacts the health of your cardiovascular system.

Within your cardiovascular system is one particular amino acid that plays a very significant role in helping it function properly. That amino acid is:


L-Arginine impacts your health because it is the precursor for nitric oxide. Very simply, you couldn’t live without nitric oxide! Nitric oxide is the master signaling molecule of the cardiovascular system. It regulates blood vessel tone and flexibility. In your body, the amino acid L-arginine is converted to nitric oxide.

The Benefits of Nitric Oxide (NO)
Outside the body, nitric oxide (NO) is considered an environmental pollutant. Inside the body, this potentially harmful gas is intricately involved in many biological functions. For example:

Nitric oxide, synthesized from the essential amino acid L-arginine, is literally involved in all cells to help keep you fit and healthy. In 1992, the cover of Science declared Nitric Oxide to be its “Molecule of the Year!”

Nitric Oxide Synthesis or NOS
The creation of nitric oxide from L-arginine depends on a family of enzymes called nitric oxide synthesis or NOS. To date, three forms of the NOS enzyme have been found:

Each has a specific function. Without going into a lot of detail, let’s briefly look at the one that is best understood at this time. The NOS enzymes in the endothelial cells create nitric oxide. (Endothelial cells form the lining of blood vessels.) However, when the endothelial cells are damaged by high blood pressure, high sugar levels, cholesterol and other lipid deposits, and smoking this decreases nitric oxide production leading to a whole host of health and wellness issues.

The NOS enzymes in the brain are found throughout this organ. This suggests that they are involved in almost every brain function. When improperly regulated they can have significant health issues. Too much production of nitric oxide can destroy brain cells since it is a dangerous free radical. Too little production of nitric oxide may affect memory.

So, what does all this have to do with Alzheimer’s disease in the African American community? Before I can answer that question, there is one more issue that needs to be addressed.

One More Key to the Health Equation!
Inherent to the African American population is a genetic polymorphism. This causes African Americans to have higher levels of an enzyme called arginase in their blood stream. Arginase destroys L-arginine which is the main ingredient for creating nitric oxide in the body. As we have already discussed, you cardiovascular system cannot function properly without nitric oxide. For the African American community, nitric oxide production is compromised on both sides of the equation.

On the front end, the enzyme arginase destroys L-arginine which interferes with the production of nitric oxide. On the back end, the health of your endothelial cells determines how much of the remaining L-arginine can be converted to nitric oxide. This two-fold interference in the production of nitric oxide creates significant health issues in the African American community. Alzheimer’s disease is just one of these health issues.

Two Step Plan of Action!
The cure for most diseases is inherently found in prevention. The National Stroke Association now recognizes that 80% of stroke can be prevented. The American Cancer Association has concluded that 90 to 95% of all cancers are lifestyle, environmental or food related. At some point the medical community will come to the same conclusion for Alzheimer’s disease.

Many of the life threatening diseases facing the African American community could be prevented if two key steps were followed on a regular basis.

Step One!
The first key step to reducing your risk for Alzheimer’s disease and other cardiovascular health issues is to make sure that you get an adequate intake of the essential amino acid L-arginine which is found in foods like milk, cheese, yogurt, meat, and other protein sources. Most people take in enough L-arginine to meet basis bodily needs. However, when your diet is poor and/or your stress level is high, then this essential amino acid will be lacking. Couple this with the enzyme arginase that destroys L-arginine, and you have the potential to increase your risk for one of these cardiovascular health issues.

You could increase your protein intake but this will add calories to your diet and potential pounds to your body. Because of this L-arginine supplements have populated the shelves of many health food store, pharmacies and websites. Now, before you go out and start buying L-arginine supplements you need to be aware of the dark side of this amino acid. L-arginine ingested in its pure form tastes terrible. By itself L-arginine can also have some serious side effects like:

That is why L-arginine is also called “the double-edged sword.”

To be effective, an L-arginine supplement must utilize a low-glycemic method. High-glycemic ingredients like sucrose, table sugars, dextrose, glucose, honey, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, and fruit juice interfere with L-arginine absorption. There are also other amino acids like lysine and ornithine that directly compete with L-arginine to block its health benefits. For most adults, a daily dose of 5 grams of elemental, pharmaceutical-grade L-arginine will provide cardiovascular benefits and nitric oxide production.

So what’s the bottom to all of this? You need to use caution when choosing an L-arginine supplement. Ask questions like:

Proper answers to all of these questions will help you find an L-arginine product that will have a profound and positive effect on your overall health and wellness. For those searching for a proven and effective L-arginine supplement, I recommend ProArgi-9 Plus from Synergy WorldWide.

Step 2!
The second key step to reducing your risk for Alzheimer’s disease and other cardiovascular problems is to protect the endothelial cells that line the inside of your blood vessels. Since endothelial cells are damaged by high blood pressure, high sugar levels, high cholesterol and smoking, it is important to watch your numbers:

Make it a yearly habit to see your doctor to determine that your numbers are right for you. If they are not right, then design a plan of action to bring your numbers down to the proper level. There is much that you can do to improve your numbers by your dietary choices. The article “Potential Steps to Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease – Part 2” provides a good dietary plan of action. When diet doesn’t achieve the desired effect, then medication(s) can be added to your health plan.

By making healthy lifestyle choices that improve your cardiovascular system you will be taking positive steps. These positive steps will help to reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s disease and a host of other health issues that are at epidemic levels in the African American community.

Until next time, may we both age youthfully!

Synergistically yours,

P.S.   As a convenience, I’ve also included links to the following articles on Alzheimer’s disease:

Alzheimer’s Disease Information!

Potential Steps to Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease – Part 1!

Potential Steps to Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease – Part 2!

Alzheimer’s Disease – Ten Warning Signs!


Return from African Americans and Alzheimer’s Disease to Alzheimer’s Disease

Return from African Americans and Alzheimer’s Disease to Aging No More (Home Page)



The information contained in this website and posted articles are for general information purposes only and never as a substitute for professional medical advice or medical exam. The information contained in this website and posted articles has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease without the supervision of a qualified medical doctor.

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