Approximately 2 million Americans are currently afﬂicted with some form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease being the most widely publicized form, due to its severity. Alzheimer’s is a degenerative brain disease that manifests during the later years of life. It affects the hippocampus and cerebral cortex of the brain, where memory, language, and cognition are located, and is characterized by neurological damage and deterioration of the neurotransmitters, which are responsible for nerve communication. In addition, circulation in Alzheimer’s patients can be impeded by up to 30 percent.This condition, and other forms of dementia, develops when the neurons located in the front of the brain perish, resulting in diminished quantities of acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is the neurotransmitter responsible for fast reactions and muscular activity, and its absence can induce symptoms commonly associated with Alzheimer’s, including difficulty communicating, memory loss, concentration problems, and reduced motor skills.It should be noted that the symptoms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, which in cattle is known as mad cow disease, are sometimes mistaken for those of Alzheimer’s. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease has a latency period of 30 years, which means that people who have eaten contaminated beef many years in the past may be infected without even knowing it, and may eventually experience symptoms almost identical to those of Alzheimer’s. We should note too that a practice that has developed over the past 20 years in the meat industry does not bode well for beef-eaters’ future health. Through a process called rendering, cattle parts that are not used by humans are actually being included in cattle feed. In effect, the cattle are forced to practice a type of cannibalism that propagates the spread of the disease.
One possible cause of A1zheimer’s disease is atherosclerosis, a condition in which the diminished ﬂow of blood within the body affects the brain and produces common Alzheimer’s symptoms.
Also implicated in the onset of this condition is heavy—metal toxicity; in autopsies performed on victims of Alzheimer’s, an accumulation of aluminum and mercury deposits is usually present in the areas of the brain affected by dementia. Unfortunately, toxic accumulations of metals, especially aluminum, have become quite prevalent in modern society, and our body can assimilate excessive quantities of aluminum without our knowing it. Also, despite the attempts of water treatment facilities to purify our water supply, the reservoirs from which we draw tap water continue to be besieged by various pollutants, including pesticides, bacteria, viruses, and aluminum. Since our bodies consist of over 70 percent water, this can obviously have health-compromising consequences. In addition to unﬁltered tap water, aluminum deposition within the body can originate from aluminum cookware, antacids, deodorants, anti-diarrheal preparations, buffered aspirin, and food additives.
Vitamin and mineral deﬁciencies constitute yet another potential cause of Alzheimer’s disease, although the conventional medical community does not acknowledge this. But the fact is that the dominance of processed foods in the typical American diet has deprived us of essential nutrients required for proper brain functioning. Processed foods are often stripped of vital nutrients, which are replaced with processed sugars, such as fructose, corn sweetener, and corn syrup. Other unhealthy additives include trans fatty acids, such as partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. The bottom line is that deﬁciencies of essential nutrients can lead to a wide assortment of health problems, and facilitate the eventual onset of Alzheimer’s.
Subclinical hypothyroidism is another factor that can contribute to the manifestation of symptoms, or compound a condition that already exists. Most doctors are dependent upon the results of blood tests in diagnosing thyroid problems, but sometimes hypothyroidism is not reﬂected in a blood test but may still be present, and contributing to a patient’s dementia symptoms.
Contrary to the beliefs of most mainstream doctors, safe, natural, nontoxic treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia do exist.
Research has demonstrated that these remedies can aid in preventing the onset of Alzheimer’s or alleviating symptoms that have already developed. In past years, people allowed their loved ones to wither away before their eyes, citing aging as an uncontrollable force. While we cannot stop time, we can take action to prevent the later years of life from being characterized by rapid degeneration. R
Nutrition and Supplements
As people age, their bodies become more susceptible to nutritional deﬁciencies, and a lifetime of deﬁciencies can encourage the development of degenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease. The up side of this picture is that the cumulative effects of poor dietary habits can be avoided by improving dietary intake early in life.
As we’ve mentioned, the prevalence of processed and tainted foods in our society is a serious health risk factor for all of us. In order to obtain the nutrients our bodies need, we should try to consume an abundance of nonlabeled foods. Whole grains and fresh vegetables are especially healthful. And it is advisable to purchase organic foods, which are more likely than others to contain trace minerals that are vital to the brain, such as chromium, magnesium, selenium, and zinc.
If the Alzheimer’s disease process has begun, there are a variety of nutritional programs that can be initiated to combat it. Since the severity of degeneration differs from one individual to the next, each patient should be evaluated by a qualiﬁed professional so that proper treatment can be prescribed. Advancing age hampers the body’s ability to assimilate essential nutrients due to the diminished production of stomach acids within the digestive system. Deﬁciencies of vitamins B6, B12, and iron commonly develop during the later years, eventually causing symptomatic memory problems.
It is important for those with Alzheimer’s disease to receive parenteral—i.e., injected or intravenous—supplements of vitamin B complex. Oral supplements are not usually as effective as internal supplements in reversing dementia symptoms because the necessary levels cannot be absorbed into the blood stream through the intestines. Of course, the dosage and procedure have to be supervised by a qualiﬁed medical practitioner.
Frequently unnoticed by the general public, the nutrient known as DMAE can augment the body’s natural production of energy, enhance the sleeping cycle, and improve memory. Although this nutrient can be supplemented relatively safely, excessive consumption can result in the onset of insomnia, muscle tension, and mild headaches, so be sure to regulate dosages.
Daily consumption of coenzyme Q10, in quantities of 50 mg three times daily, can augment the supply of oxygen to the brain. This is useful in cases of Alzheimer’s induced by atherosclerosis, where the blood supply to the brain is impeded and, consequently, the reduced oxygen supply can exacerbate cognitive deterioration.
Lecithin, which contains a substance known as choline, can enhance production of acetylcholine. Since deﬁciencies of this vital neurotransmitter have been correlated with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, one tablespoon of lecithin should be consumed daily with food. Lecithin also contains inositol, which can help alleviate anxiety by acting as a natural Valium minus this drug’s adverse side effects.
Supplements of vitamin C are also crucial for older adults. One thousand milligrams of C should be taken three times daily, during mealtimes (vitamins are most easily assimilated into the system when they are taken with food).
Vitamin E has beneﬁcial antioxidant properties and should be supplemented in quantities of 400 IU per day. The mineral magnesium can relax the body by dilating the blood vessels and airways. Magnesium can aid in the treatment of circulatory and respiratory disorders, and so it’s unfortunate that an overwhelming majority of the population does not receive an adequate amount of it in their diets. For maximum results, magnesium should be supplemented in the chelated form because the amino acid that it is paired with facilitates absorption into the blood. Between 500 to 1000 mg of magnesium should be consumed daily on an empty stomach, with 200 to 300 mg taken in the morning and the remainder taken before retiring for the evening. Since magnesium is a relaxing mineral, it can aid the sleep cycle. One possible side effect of this mineral is loose stool, so if this occurs, you should limit your dosage.
Many people who suffer from dementia have deﬁciencies of selenium and zinc. Supplements of selenium should be consumed in quantities of 200 mcg daily, while 40 to 50 mg of the chelated form of zinc, known as Zinc picolinate, is recommended as well. One hundred milligrams of potassium should also be taken as a supplement on a daily basis.
Another nutrient that can aid in the battle with Alzheimer’s disease is Acetylcarnitine. This versatile nutrient is able to transport itself through the blood brain barrier, and serves to stimulate and fortify the nerve cells within the brain. Acetylcarnitine directs fatty acids into the cell mitochondria, which are responsible for creating cell energy. Furthermore, it can act as an antioxidant and can supplement the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.
DHEA is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands, but production declines steadily with age. Clinical studies have indicated that the level of DHEA in a 60-year-old is only 10 percent of the amount in the average 20- Avear-old. DHEA supplementation during the later years can hinder the onset of an assortment of serious disorders, including heart disease, cancer, arthritis, and asthma. It can also aid our mental capabilities and alleviate stress. DHEA can be obtained in 5- to 25-mg form.
Flaxseed oil can provide the body with ample quantities of the essential fatty acid omega-3, which is transmuted into another fatty acid and ultimately provides nourishment for the cells in the brain. The recommended dosage of ﬂaxseed oil is one tablespoon daily. Remember to keep ﬂaxseed oil refrigerated and avoid cooking it, because heat can destroy its nutritional value.
Melatonin, which is manufactured naturally in the pineal gland, may need to be supplemented during the later years of life when natural production diminishes. Three mg taken prior to bedtime can help stabilize the sleeping cycle.
N-acetyl-cysteine has antioxidant properties that can promote healthy functioning of the brain, while Phosphatidylserine enhances the ability of enzymes in membranes of nerve cells to relay messages in and out of the cells. This product can improve memory and learning capacity in older adults, and can ameliorate symptoms of depression. Phosphatidylserine is especially effective when paired with omega-3 fatty acid supplements.
Taurine is an antioxidant that protects the supply of magnesium and calcium within brain cells and enhances nerve cell functioning.
Tryptophane fosters comfortable sleep, which, in turn, enhances brain functioning.
Tyrosine and phenylalanine promote the production of dopamine within the brain, a vital compound responsible for regulating the operation of neurotransmitters.
Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, also known as NADH or coenzyme 1, is vital to the production of energy within the body due to its rich hydrogen content. Although NADH is a natural biological substance that should be present in all cells, older adults who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease tend to lack up to 50 percent of the necessary amount of this chemical. When the body engages in rigorous activity, muscle and brain cells can contain up to 50 mcg of NADH per gram of tissue. An ample supply of NADH can allow the body to reap the beneﬁts of an additional power source. Fortunately for Alzheimer’s patients, risk—free supplements of coenzyme 1 are now available and can produce miraculous results. Studies have demonstrated that the administration of NADH supplements can halt further development of the disease, and can increase energy and improve functioning within l0 to 12 weeks.
Unfortunately, the clinical effects of NADH last only for limited amounts of time.
Several pharmaceutical products currently on the market have illustrated their ability to aid brain functioning without causing harmful side effects. These are some that are worth looking into:
Depranil can protect neurons in the niagra striata, which is the portion of the brain commonly victimized by Parkinson’s disease.
Hydergine can enhance the ﬂow of oxygen to the brain, hence countering free radical damage and signs of aging. While the U.S. government allows prescriptions only in the form of l-mg tablets, 4.5-mg tablets can be readily obtained via foreign mail order catalogs. The higher-potency tablets can substantially reduce memory loss when consumed twice daily.
The drug Lucidril aids in the elimination of toxic deposits in the brain that accrue throughout life. When the brain becomes overwhelmed with cellular debris, it ceases to function properly and senility sets in. After Lucidril drives out the hazardous buildup, the symptoms of aging can be reversed.
Although Piracetam is illegal within the U.S., it is widely available in 85 other nations. Piracetam performs similarly to Hydergine, in that it slows the destruction of brain cells by increasing the supply of oxygen to the brain. Furthermore, this versatile product promotes super connecting, a process that increases the electric ﬂow of information between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. According to clinical evidence, Alzheimer’s patients who are treated with a combination of Piracetam and lecithin frequently experience remarkable memory recovery.
Although the U.S. claims to lead the global community in medical technology, in some instances, we actually lag behind the times. As we discussed in the preceding section, some of the treatment modalities that have proven effective overseas are not being utilized to their full potential in our own country. A further example involves an herbal extract derived from the ginkgo biloba tree, used extensively throughout Europe for the past 20 years. This herbal remedy has produced remarkable results in the treatment of Alzheimer’s and other age-related degenerative diseases, and consequently, has become the leading prescribed plant medicine in numerous countries. In fact, in France and Germany, ginkgo biloba currently ranks in the top ﬁve medications used overall. That’s not the case here, where, unfortunately, the conventional medical community is generally ignorant of the vast assortment of herbs that possess medicinal capabilities. You have to journey to Europe, where herbal remedies have become an integral part of modern conventional medicine, to understand that the U.S. is not necessarily in the vanguard when it comes to knowledge about health.
Concerning ginkgo biloba, this herb is valuable because it can alleviate several dementia-related symptoms. First of all, ginkgo enhances the circulation to the central nervous system, which frequently becomes impeded in older adults. Furthermore, this herbal extract has a tendency to stabilize abnormal nerve communication in the brain. Within the U.S. pharmaceutical industry, a product known as Tacrin has enjoyed the status of being the only medication prescribed for the early stages of dementia. Interestingly, European studies comparing the effects of this product and ginkgo biloba have indicated that ginkgo extract is more effective in enhancing circulation and brain functioning.
Furthermore, ginkgo has potent antioxidant properties that are vital in protecting the cells of the central nervous system from free radical damage.
Elderly people who rely upon ginkgo to combat Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia should consume 240 mg daily divided into two or three doses throughout the day, while people who are just using ginkgo as part of their daily regimen should take only 120 mg.
The herb ginseng, especially Korean ginseng, has also demonstrated its capacity to curb the onset of psychological deterioration. In addition to aiding a patient’s mental condition, ginseng can enhance adrenal functioning. Considering that many older adults suffer from deteriorated adrenal capacities, ginseng can provide a valuable supplement to ginkgo biloba extract.
Yet another herb that promotes healthy circulation to the brain is butcher’s broom. Enhanced memory and clearer focus can be expected when two to four 425-mg capsules are taken daily.
What to Avoid
Unfortunately, most Americans indulge in an abundance of processed foods, foods stripped of vital nutrients. Vitamins and minerals that are crucial in preventing the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are replaced by unhealthy additives. In order to avert nutritional deﬁciencies and harmful toxins, we need to limit our intake of salt, processed sugars, red meat, and trans fatty acids, and seek healthier sources of nourishment. It is also a good idea to completely avoid meats that are the product of animals supplied with rendered feed. In addition, it is important for elderly adults to avoid accumulations of hazardous metallic toxins within the body. So limiting use of aluminum-containing cookware, deodorants, antacids, and other preparations is prudent. And since our reservoirs often contain dangerous pollutants, charcoal block ﬁlters, which can effectively eliminate harmful toxins, should be installed on all sources of tap water used for drinking or cooking purposes.
Contrary to popular belief, Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are not part of the normal aging process, and can be prevented or ameliorated by eating a nutritious, organic diet throughout one’s life, by getting a nutritional evaluation to determine problems with assimilation, and by taking various supplements, herbs, and “smart pills.”
The herb ginkgo biloba is noteworthy for its remarkable results in the treatment of Alzheimer’s patients, and is used extensively in Europe for this purpose.