5 Proven Ways to Slow Senile Dementia and Alzheimer's:
By Dr. Myatt
Age-related memory loss and Alzheimer's disease are two
variations of memory changes that can take place with age although they are not
inevitable. Age-related memory changes (called "senile dementia") can be caused
by other medical conditions such as low thyroid function or atherosclerosis. For
this reason, it is important for anyone with a memory decline to have a complete
Alzheimer's disease is related to the
accumulation of a substance called "beta amyloid" in the brain. This is often
seen in combination with exposure to aluminum or other toxic metals. Although it
is not known if aluminum causes Alzheimer's, it seems prudent at this time to
avoid dietary sources of aluminum exposure such as the intake of foods cooked in
aluminum pots, foods that come into direct contact with aluminum foil, beverages
stored in aluminum cans, and foods containing aluminum additives. Aluminum is
added to some municipal water supplies to prevent the accumulation of
particulates. In such areas, bottled water may be preferable.
Although there is no cure for Alzheimer's
disease or senile dementia known at this time, there are proven ways to greatly
slow progression of the disease. In some studies, memory loss was not only
slowed, but reversed and improved by these natural treatments.
Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba), is
approved as a treatment for early-stage Alzheimer’s disease in Europe. It's not
a cure, but multiple studies have shown that Ginkgo extract improves memory and
quality of life and slows progression in the early stages of Alzheimer's. It has
also been helpful for those experiencing from multi-infarct dementia (also known
as "mini-strokes"). In a placebo-controlled study which compared Ginkgo to drug
treatment for Alzheimer's, ginkgo compared favorably with two prescription
drugs, donepezil and tacrine, commonly used to treat the condition. Studies have
used 120 to 240 mg of Ginkgo extract, standardized to contain 24% flavone
glycosides per day, generally divided into two or three doses daily. Ginkgo may
need to be taken for six to eight weeks before desired actions are noticed.
Huperzine A (Huperzia serrata)
also known as Chinese club moss, is a Chinese medicinal herb. One
placebo-controlled study showed an impressive 58% of people with Alzheimer’s
disease had significant improvement in memory and mental and behavioral function
after taking 200 mcg of huperzine A two times per day for eight weeks. A second
double-blind trial using injected huperzine A confirmed a positive effect in
people with dementia, including, but not limited to, Alzheimer’s disease. A
third study found that huperzine A, given at levels of 100 to 150 mcg 2 to 4
times per day for four to six weeks, was more effective at improving minor
memory loss associated with age-related memory loss than the drug piracetam.
Acetyl-L-carnitine (A-LC) is a molecule
that occurs naturally in the brain, liver, and kidney. A-LC acts as a powerful
antioxidant in the brain. A-LC contributes to the production of the
neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is required for mental function. Acetyl-L-carnitine
levels may decrease with age.
Supplementation with acetyl-L-carnitine has been shown to delay the progression
of Alzheimer’s disease, improve memory and enhance overall performance in some
people with the disease. In one double-blind trial, people who received
acetyl-L-carnitine (1 gram three times per day) deteriorated at the same rate as
those given a placebo. Overall, however, most short-term studies have shown
clinical benefits, and most long-term studies (one year) have shown a reduction
in the rate of deterioration. A typical supplemental amount is 1 gram TID (three
times per day). Other studies have used 500mg 3 times per day with good results.
Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA) is a
vitamin-like antioxidant, sometimes referred to as the “universal antioxidant”
because it is both fat and water soluble. ALA is manufactured in the body in
small amounts and is found in some foods, particularly liver and yeast.
According to a study in the Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics,
alpha-lipoic acid may be an important neuroprotective nutrient in Alzheimer's
patients. Scientists gave 600 mg lipoic acid daily to nine patients with
Alzheimer's or related dementias who were also receiving a standard drug
treatment with acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. The study lasted over a year and
showed that cognitive functions stabilized in the lipoic-acid group. The
patients receiving lipoic acid achieved constant scores in two
DHEA. Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a
hormones produced by the adrenal glands. DHEA levels peak in early adulthood and
then start a lifelong descent. By age of 60, DHEA levels are only about 5 to 15%
of what they were at their peak at younger ages.
Numerous studies have found that people with Alzheimer’s disease have lower
blood DHEA than people who do not have the condition. New evidence suggests a
possible benefit of DHEA supplementation in people with Alzheimer’s disease. In
one double-blind trial, participants who took 50 mg twice a day for six months
had significantly better mental performance at the three-month mark than those
taking placebo. DHEA is also used in longevity medicine for its anti-aging
Dr. Myatt's Summary: Drug treatments for
age-related memory changes and Alzheimer's have been most disappointing, and the
natural remedies described above have held their own against drugs in medical
studies. Given the relative safety of these natural substances, I'd surely add
one or more of them to my program if I suffered from any type of mental decline.
I have patients complain about the "Golden Years" being the pits because of
memory loss, yet many of these people just sit back and "accept" their
diagnosis. Why? We have proven substances which slow and in some cases even
reverse some of the deficits. Why would anyone give up their good memory and
normal function without a fight?!
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