Alzheimer's Disease And Alternative Medicine

Learn about the potential benefits of alternative medicine for Alzheimer's disease, including herbs like Ginkgo Biloba, Huperzine A, and Turmeric.

Alzheimer's Disease And Alternative Medicine
Alternative Medicine for Alzheimer's Disease

Types of alternative medicine for Alzheimer’s disease involve herbs.

Plant extracts and dietary supplements such as …Huperzine A and gingko biloba. These are promoted to provide memory and cognition enhancement. Physicians recommend that people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s should not depend entirely on alternative treatment plans… as their primary means of treating the disease.

These products should be used as a supplement to traditional AD medications. Traditional medications are to slow the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s disease progression

Ginkgo Biloba

Alternative medicine news sources report… Ginkgo leaves contain ingredients that seem to improve overall brain functioning. It is used to improve attention and memory in people with mild to moderate dementia. Ginkgo’s bioactive constituents are responsible for improving cognition. The terpenoids and flavenoid, have had their neuroprotective properties. Researched in various studies, most of these studies found a modest improvement… in the memory and attention abilities of dementia patients.

In 2010, the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry published the results of a trial that described… giving patients a daily dose of 240 milligrams of Ginkgo in supplementary pill form. What the researchers found was those taking t Ginkgo supplements experienced cognitive improvement. This was “significantly superior” to dementia subjects who were given a placebo.

Scientists are not quite sure how types of alternative medicine for Alzheimer’s disease treatment… enhances memory, concentration and attention in dementia patients as well as healthy people. One theory is Gingko’s bioactive chemicals … may act to stop the reuptake of norepinephrine. Similar to the way… antidepressants work to regulate serotonin and norepinephrine levels… in the brain of depressed patients.

Some research suggests that Ginkgo also:

  • Enhances circulation
  • Protects cells and tissues against free radical damage
  • May inhibit blood clot development often seen in heart, kidney and lung diseases.

Side effects are minimal and usually disappear . Dizziness, headache, nausea and diarrhea are the primary symptoms experienced by Ginkgo users.

Huperzine A

Many types of alternative medicine are plants and herbs native to Asia. Extracted from a type of Chinese club moss, Huperzine A is an NMDA receptor agonist. It is also a acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. It helps to regulate neuronal plasticity. This enhances memory and cognition.

It works like traditional Alzheimer’s medications such as; rivastigmine, donepezil and galantamine. They alleviate dementia symptoms.

The National Institute on Aging completed trials … evaluating the effectiveness and safety of Huperzine A on Alzheimer’s disease symptoms. These studies involved over 200 subjects suffering from mild to moderate AD-related dementia. One group received a placebo while the other group received Huperzine A supplements. Those taking Huperzine A experienced an increased ability to perform daily living activities. They also showed improved cognition. But… no changes in psychiatric symptoms such as delusions or paranoia.

Researchers consider Huperzine A as a promising AD drug. It is well tolerated and causes minimal side effects. Side Effects that are common to people taking synthetic acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. These are usually prescribed to dementia patients.

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Turmeric Alzheimer’s Treatment

Other types of alternative medicine for treatment of Alzheimer’s dementia are herbs such as Turmeric. This is an Asian plant from which antioxidant and anti-inflammatory ingredients are extracted. The root is ground into a fine powder. Another powerful component in tumeric… it has proven to be an effective blocker of TNF, or tumor necrosis factor. This is a chemical strongly contributing to the development of arthritis and cancer.

Statistics revealed that elderly adults native to India experience some of the lowest rates of AD in the world. That is five times less than U.S. rates. Scientists became interested in started studying turmeric as a potential Alzheimer’s medication. Tumeric is widely used as a spice in Indian cuisine and is eaten nearly every day by the majority of Indians.

Other types of alternative medicine treatments used in relieving dementia symptoms include:

Caprylic acid

Made from processed palm kernel or coconut oil. In the body caprylic acid breaks down by enzymes to create ketone bodies. Scientists think these ketone bodies may provide another source energy for the brain. This helps to utilize glucose when it cannot reach the brain. This may be due to disruption of blood flow from strokes or atherosclerosis.

Have more questions? Check out the Frequently Asked Question section of the website. You will find a lot of different questions answered directly.

Omega-3 fatty acids

In addition to benefiting the heart, circulatory system and brain functioning… omega-3s have been found to help slow Alzheimer’s disease progression. It also slows cognitive decline by supporting neuronal membranes and myelin creation.

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Bacopa Monnieri

Bacopa Monnieri is a popular herbal supplement used to improve cognitive function. It has been studied for its potential to improve memory and reduce anxiety. It is believed to benefit Alzheimer's patients by  increasing acetylcholine levels in the brain and improving overall cognition.

Alzheimer’s Disease Stem Cell Research

Stem cells are cells that have the ability to develop into any cell type. They hold great promise as a technique that can be used to “grow” new organs or replace tissues. Scientists are hoping that advances in medicine will discover how to use stem cells … in the repair of brains damaged by Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementias.

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Coconut Oil MCT for the treatment of Alzheimer's Disease

Types of alternative medicine include:

  • Aromatherapy
  • Massage therapy
  • Music therapy

These are designed to calm dementia patients suffering from:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability accompanying the rapid cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Have a story about alternative treatments you use for your family member ? Please share here? Help others realize that they are not alone. Submit Your Caregiver Story