2

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Supplements for family in a nursing home?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 15, 2011 at 11:08 PM

Dr. K. I had you in mind with this one... My father has found himself in a nursing home. He's only 62 but has been living with a traumatic brain injury since 1989. My husband and I used to bring him a lot of his groceries, so he had access to good butter, good tea, good meats and good soups (in house deli made). He's always had a mean sweet tooth, though I try to convince him to limit it when I can. He has a pretty sedentary lifestyle as he has some physical issues too from his accident. Brain is still pretty sharp, though he suffers from aphasia when trying to pronouce the words he is trying to say. (He knows what he wants to say, but can't always get it out - starts the word out ok then flows into incoherency).

he's been in a nursing home for just over a year, and gained about 30 lbs up to 236 or so. he's also been on a low dose of both Lexapro and Abilify that may or may not help stabilize his mood.

Anyways, I was wondering what the best steps to improve his overall health would be given the circumstances. Recommended protective supplements? I'm sure I'm not the only one with family in a nursing home. Anyone else care to relate experiences?

Medium avatar

(5136)

on April 16, 2011
at 01:38 AM

my husband (who is more up on the science of paleo and supplements) read your ketosis comments and wonders if supplementing MCT oil would also help?

Medium avatar

(5136)

on April 16, 2011
at 01:36 AM

every supplement i want to give him/have given him needs to get approved by his doctor.

Medium avatar

(5136)

on April 16, 2011
at 01:36 AM

Thanks Dr. K. I tried twice to get them to step him down off of the abilify and lexapro, though he inevitably has an "episode" where he gets really angry that someone with alzheimers finds their way into his room and he starts yelling at them and occasionally staff. So they stepped him back up and told me they thought this would be best. I'm against it and he himself doesn't know he's on the meds, though I know (because I've asked him) that he is very against psych meds. The food is so poor I'm not sure how to get him fully off of frutose/sucrose. I will,however, try and use these suggestions

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on April 16, 2011
at 12:47 AM

If he is sedentary or paralyzed you need to get him tons of physical and mental stimulation......iPad usage usually works well as does a wii.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on April 16, 2011
at 12:45 AM

Brain injury patients need much higher levels of DHA (omega3 marine) oils than most think. Levels should be pushed as high as one can tolerate based upon coagulation data

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on April 16, 2011
at 12:44 AM

D levels should be pushed to 100 to 125 levels if brain injury exceeded a lobe in territory.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on April 16, 2011
at 12:43 AM

Get him off the lexapro and abilify ASAP. You need to up dietary DHA to very high levels.....more than you would expect. I would strongly recommend the following for brain injury. Acetyl l carnitine, r alpha lipoic acid, PQQ, low dose lithium, high dose coEnz Q10, heavy use of the spice turmeric at every meal, and as much trans resveratrol as you can afford. His diet needs to be heavily ketogenic with liberal uses of coconut and macademia nut oils. I also would make him homemade 100% cocao chocolate coconut oil bark for daily ingestion. He needs a zero fructose and sucrose existence

Medium avatar

(5136)

on April 15, 2011
at 11:59 PM

Thanks for the suggestions! I'm not sure how together the nursing home is when it comes to meals, I've asked them a few things and they have been a little hit or miss when it comes to implementing them. He's definitely a fall risk, which is how he ended up in the nursing home. Fell in his tub and couldn't get out, caught pneumonia. Went to the hospital and caught a "superbug" ,c-dif, there! He's all better and we did get him lots of probiotics. I should go back to doing that. He's really resilient but I'm afraid the new lousy nursing home diet will make him less so.

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2 Answers

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1
Fa9f340eddbad9a544184c688fa4dcdd

(6433)

on April 15, 2011
at 11:38 PM

Balancing O6/3 via fish oil supplementation is important, not just for general well being, but also for the proper functioning of the brain.

You may want to consider supplementing lutein and zeaxanthin; these carotenoids are essential for eye health and have been shown to prevent cataracts and (in some cases even improve) age related macular degeneration (the most common cause of loss of eyesight/sight impairment as people age). Lutein and zeaxanthin should be consumed with fat for proper absorption, and benefits start from 6mg lutein and zeaxanthin per day.

A diet high in anti-imflammatory polyphenols like blueberries, dark chocolate and green/white tea will reduce systemtic inflammation, as will supplementation with curcumin, which has excellent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.

This isn't really a supplement per se, but depending on how often he is able to get out and about in the sun, you may want to buy him a therapeutic lamp which mimics the sun's light (used to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder). I bought one for my house-bound grandpa, as these have shown to be effective at combating depression/poor concentration and a host of other problems by fooling your body into thinking that you're outside and it's the height of summer. They also make great reading lamps for the elderly.

What sort of flexibility can the care home offer you when it comes to meals? Would they be willing to prepare gluten-free meals and cook with butter instead of vegetable oils?

Edit: It can be all too easy for the elderly to catch infections when living in an "institution", regardless of how hygienic it is. I suggest that you focus on improving his gut health (and thus his immune system) by supplementing prebiotics and probiotics. If falls are a potential worry, it's extra improtant to make sure that he's getting adequate doses of the nutrients related to bone health; magnesium, boron, calcium, K2 and D3.

Medium avatar

(5136)

on April 15, 2011
at 11:59 PM

Thanks for the suggestions! I'm not sure how together the nursing home is when it comes to meals, I've asked them a few things and they have been a little hit or miss when it comes to implementing them. He's definitely a fall risk, which is how he ended up in the nursing home. Fell in his tub and couldn't get out, caught pneumonia. Went to the hospital and caught a "superbug" ,c-dif, there! He's all better and we did get him lots of probiotics. I should go back to doing that. He's really resilient but I'm afraid the new lousy nursing home diet will make him less so.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on April 16, 2011
at 12:45 AM

Brain injury patients need much higher levels of DHA (omega3 marine) oils than most think. Levels should be pushed as high as one can tolerate based upon coagulation data

1
06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458

(9948)

on April 15, 2011
at 11:21 PM

The first thing that comes to mind is get him on a Vit D3 supplement which does wonders for mood and helps improve the immune system. Someone his size would be able to handle 10,000IU a day for 6 months. Then test. Dr K wants his patients to be at 70 to 100ng/mL.

Dr K previously has said what some of the supplements he takes daily. He will be along soon.

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