The phone rings. Your friend wants to know if the kids and grandkids are coming over to celebrate with you. “Celebrate what?” you ask. Turns out it’s your birthday. Well, that’s never happened before!
And just last week, you stood up your ex-colleague at the coffee shop because the meeting completely slipped your mind. You feel fine otherwise, but what’s with all the “senior moments”?
Chances are, most of us will visit the doctor after a few such instances. What we don’t want to hear the doctor say is that these are early signs of Alzheimer’s.
First of all, misdiagnosis of Alzheimer’s is more common than you would expect. So it’s important to insist on a thorough 30-minute examination to rule out other conditions that affect memory. But if turns out to be Alzheimer’s after all, how will this change your life?
The Standard Approach
Although Alzheimer’s disease was first identified over 100 years ago and currently affects over 5 million Americans, we still have few leads on its causes and how to treat it. What we do know is that fibers and plaque gradually “suffocate” the brains of patients, and they lose cognitive function over time.
So most doctors treat Alzheimer’s as a disease of the brain and prescribe drugs to slow down the buildup of plaque and preserve the health of the brain. That’s the conventional treatment. And remember: the drugs only kick in after you have the disease.
Unfortunately, many patients feel that the prescription drugs we have available today are not very effective at treating the disease. The side effects are debilitating: hives, breathing problems, hemorrhaging, incontinence, and sleep disorders are just a few that can severely impact quality of life.
Understanding Your Own Healing
So what can we do? Well, actually a lot. Natural supplements can help you combat several of the Alzheimer’s symptoms and slow its progress—with little or no side effects. Here’s a list of what many people find works:
This “mother” hormone boosts nerve growth and balances the release of the correct chemicals in the brain. It helps nerves make connections again, allowing for memories to be formed. Since is a “pro hormone,” you must consult your doctor before taking it, especially if you are at high risk for or have had cancer in the past. What seems to work for many: Between 50–100 mg per day
Curcumin (Turmeric Extract)
Known for its inflammation-fighting properties, curcumin has been used as a substitute to NSAIDs. Researchers are increasingly finding that Alzheimer’s patients have many inflammatory symptoms, so many are successfully using curcumin to help them. Just remember, curcumin has been used in the east as a culinary spice for its digestion-boosting effects, so use with care if you have gallstones or kidney stones. What seems to work for many 1–4 g of extract per day
This Chinese herb is known to reduce excito-toxicity, a condition in which neurons may be damaged or killed due to over-stimulation. Huperzine A appears to have beneficial effects on improvement of cognitive function and daily activities of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. What seems to work for many: 300–500 mcg per day
It’s an essential fatty acid that encloses nerve cells. It strengthens cell membranes and protects them from damage, particularly in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. What seems to work for many: 300 mg divided into 3 equal doses through the day
Its abilities to chelate (pull out) heavy metals from the brain, reduce inflammation and increase production of the protective chemical acetylcholine make it promising for Alzheimer’s prevention and treatment. Small clinical studies have shown its abilities to stunt progression of cognitive decline. What seems to work for many: 600 mg per day
Acetyl L-carnitine (ALC)
It protects brain cells from the formation of amyloid beta plaque and reduces the harmful chemical homocysteine. A small clinical trial among people with Alzheimer’s disease showed that 3,000 mg of ALC daily resulted in significantly less cognitive deterioration over a 1-year period. What seems to work for many: 3000 mg per day
Vitamins C and E
The potent antioxidant activity of these two vitamins has been shown to help prevent Alzheimer’s as well as slow the speed of deterioration in those already suffering from the disease. Vitamin E has been studied exclusively as well and has shown promise in clinical trials. What seems to work for many: 500 mg of vitamin C and 200 IU of vitamin E for prevention; 2,000 IU of vitamin E for existing Alzheimer’s patients
This herb has been used traditionally to help improve cognitive function with age. It appears to work synergistically with some of the other neuro-cognitive enhancers mentioned here, including PS, vitamins C and E and the B vitamin family. What seems to work for many: 120–240 mg per day
The potent anti-aging herb has been used safely in Chinese medicine for centuries. It has been shown to reduce amyloid beta plaque formation, enhance amyloid beta clearance, and reduce brain cell death. What seems to work for many: 400–1,000 mg per day
Special Note: In addition to the above, talk to your doctor to have your hormones and vitamin B12 levels checked. Studies show that people who consume foods rich in vitamin B12 are at less risk of suffering brain shrinkage and other symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Several studies have also linked low testosterone levels to Alzheimer’s in men.
And remember, the best way to prevent Alzheimer’s is to start living a healthier life now. Eat right, and get enough exercise and good quality sleep. It could actually be that simple!