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Information on Alzheimer's Disease


Notes, Nutrients, Herbs/Supplements, and Advice

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Alzheimer's Disease


About

Progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys a persons ability to learn, reason, make judgments, communicate and perform daily activities. As this disease progressives the individuals may experience memory loss, this usually occurs more in the short-term memory, changes in personality and behavior, such as anxiety, suspiciousness or agitation, as well as delusions or hallucinations. Brain cells are gradually destroyed and leads to progressive decline in mental functions, No cure is available at this time but their are treatments that can slow the progress of the disease.

Notes


  • A study was performed on the use of carbamazepine (Tegretol), an anti-seizure drug, and it was found to lessen aggression in three out of four of the Alzheimer's participants.
  • According to Nancy Edwards, Ph.D., a professor of nursing at Purdue University it is very calming for the Alzheimer's patients to sit by a pond and watch fish swimming while they are eating. It has been found to help them to concentrate on what they are doing, such as eating, so that they eat better.
  • Beginning research has been done on rats at the University of Washington in Seattle have found that: Cat's claw combined with other herbal extracts, such as, ginkgo, gotu kola, and rosemary may stop the buildup of plaques in the brain.
  • Current research on herbs balm and sage are being done to determine what if any benefits this would have on the brain chemistry. Sage contains properties that are cholinesterase inhibitors and balm seems to arouse the neurological receptors that bind acetylcholine.
  • Current studies have shown that by the use of antioxidants the advancement of Alzheimer's disease can be delayed or turned around by the reduction of the free radical accumulation.
  • Dehydroeplandrosterone (DHEA) a hormone may be beneficial in the prevention of Alzheimer's disease.
  • Electroencephalography measures electrical activity of the brain and stores the data on a computer disk for later analysis, this can aid in the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. A skin test is currently in the works that might give earlier and more rapid diagnosis.
  • A study done by the University of California, Davis found that at least half of the patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease had an overpowering need for sweets so that the caretakers had to restrict their access to these types of foods.
  • A study published in the issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, dated April 24, 1997 states that the use of vitamin E may slow the advancement of Alzheimer's disease by 25%.
  • A study published in the Neurology, April 1998 issue reported that by exercising regularly people could lessen their chances of getting Alzheimer's disease. Some of the better exercises were found to be, walking, swimming, biking, and golf. Individuals that were less active have a higher chance of developing Alzheimer's disease.
  • A deficiency of vitamin B12 symptoms can be strange prickly or tingling sensations, loss of coordination, and dementia. This can be mistaken for Alzheimer's disease symptoms, therefore, do not believe a diagnosis of Alzheimer's until getting checked for vitamin B12 deficient. Patients that respond to the vitamin B12 treatment, would not have Alzheimer's disease. It is believed that vitamin B12 acts in many metabolic processes affecting nerve tissue, including the synthesis of neurotransmitters and the formation of the insulating sheath surrounding many nerves. It is believed that this could have a part in the fight against Alzheimer's disease.
  • An attempt is now being made to attack the disease in it's earliest stages by use of anti-inflammatory medications. It has been surmised that inflammation may be a cause of Alzheimer's disease, in part due to nonsteroidal, and anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin, indomethacin (Indocin), naproxen (Naprosyn), and ibuprofen (Motrin) seem to delay the advancement of Alzheimer's disease. Therefore, one concept is to block theorized inflammatory answer to plaques.
  • An Austrian researcher and physician Dr. George Birkmayer along with his colleagues have started a study on the use of Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) and are finding that this may be beneficial in treating patients with Alzheimer's disease. So far in the treatment of seventeen patients with Alzheimer's dementia symptoms, their cognitive function improved after treatment with NADH was done for eight to twelve weeks. This results was measured by two standard tests, one according to the Folstein Mini-Mental Status Examination and the other was the global deterioration scale. It was reported that these patients did not suffer any unfavorable effects.
  • homocysteineee is an amino acid formed because of the breakdown of another amino acid, methionine, a biomarker for developing dementia and Alzheimer's disease. One research theorizes that Alzheimer's disease could be avoided if people lessened the levels of homocysteinee levels in their blood. It has not been decided yet, if whether homocysteinee really contributes to Alzheimer's disease. Another likely reason is that raised homocysteineee levels are an indication of a severe disruption of methylation in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease. Methylation is a form of biochemical process necessary for the repair and maintenance of genetic material and the production of neurotransmitters, deficiencies in this can result in severe damage to the brain cells. Another group of scientists state that abnormal amino acid metabolism in Alzheimer's disease will cause elevated homocysteineee levels that can lead to neurological damage that happens as the disease progresses.
  • It has been discovered that women with Alzheimer's disease have decreased estrogen levels than their healthy equivalent.
  • It is being said over and over again that the more the brain is used and kept busy with such activities as, reading, writing, and learning the brain will be kept sharper and inhibit mental disorders.
  • It is thought that high doses of Lecithin can be beneficial for patients with Alzheimer's disease. The Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, & Psychiatry published a report on a double-blind controlled test of high doses of Lecithin and discovered there may be a "therapeutic window" for the results of Lecithin on patients with Alzheimer's disease and more so on older people.
  • Many experts categorize Alzheimer's disease into two categories. One is the rapidly advancing form of the disease that usually starts between the ages of thirty-six and Forty-five. The other form starts in individuals around the age of sixty-five or seventy and is a less aggressive form. More information on this can be obtained from the following: Complete Guide to Symptoms, Illness and Surgery for People Over 50 by H. Winter Griffith, M.D.. (The Body Press/Perigee Books, 1992).
  • Many older people with milder signs of Alzheimer's disease die before they develop into more apparent signs of the disease. Usually family members detect the signs of the disease sooner than strangers.
  • One of the possible methods for early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease is to check for the protein-containing substance Beta-amyloid which makes up the distinguishing senile plaques in the brain. Research was performed on liquid aged garlic extract (Kyolic), and the findings were positive. Liquid aged garlic extract may be beneficial in improving the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. The Kyolic actually safeguarded the cells from toxic effects of the beta-amyloid. This study as done by the Department of Research at Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama. In October of 1999 the journal Science reported that researchers found an enzyme, beta-secretase, that is responsible for the formation of beta-amyloid. So far, nothing has been found that will stop the formation of beta-amyloid.
  • People that have Alzheimer's disease will experience a loss of their sense of smell, this usually occurs approximately two years before the decline in mental functions. A study done by the University of California, San Diego Medical Center discovered that patients with this problem had to be exposed to extra strong combination of substances before they could pick up the odor. According to this study, a persons loss of smell rate would be a good predictor as to how quickly they will lose cognitive functioning. If the person is a smoker, this would have to be considered as smoking damages cells affected in the sense of smell, and would effect the usefulness of this test.
  • People with two copies of a gene that produces a substance called apolipoprotein E4, or APO-E4 have a fifty percent chance of getting Alzheimer's disease before they are seventy years old. People that do not have copies of the gene, the possibility of this happening does not reach fifty percent until they are ninety years of age.
  • Research done at the University of Kentucky discovered that levels of glutamine synthetase, an enzyme that administers the production of ammonia and glutamate, were greater than in a group of Alzheimer's patients than in their healthy counterparts. Glutamate is essential to the brain in small amounts, but it may be lethal in higher accumulations. Exceptionally high levels of glutamate have recently been connected with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, known as Lou Gehrig's disease) and glaucoma also.
  • Sometimes people with Alzheimer's disease have been improperly diagnosed as being alcoholics. This is because the symptoms are similar.
  • The University of Kentucky conducted research finding that the brains of a group of Alzheimer's patients contained higher levels of mercury than the brains of a comparable control group. This was specifically in areas of the brain that controls cognitive functioning, movement, and expression. This selected group of Alzheimer's patients also had higher ratios of mercury to the trace minerals selenium and zinc, this helped to protect the body against the toxic effects of mercury.
  • Through research done by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology it was discovered that levels of choline and ethanolamine are much lower than normal in patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Choline and ethanolamine are primary components of the cell membranes of neurons in the brain.
  • Tom Warren quotes proof that diet and chemical allergies are an important factor in Alzheimer's disease. Reactions to allergens may cause swelling in the brain. Repeating headaches are common symptoms of cerebral allergies. This information is found in Tom Warren's book, Beating Alzheimer's, published by Avery Publishing Group, 1991.
  • Two current prescription medications authorized for treating Alzheimer's disease are donepezil (Aricept) and tacrine (Cognex). Other drugs that are being tested in clinical trials at this time are, galantamine, lazabemide, and metrifonate. These medications are all cholinesterase inhibitors. By barring actions of an enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter implicated in learning and memory, the brain levels of this brain chemical is increased and may boost cognitive functioning in Alzheimer's patients. This is not a cure. It has also been found that a side effect of tacrine therapy may be liver damage.
Helpful nutrients for this condition.


Copper
Importance: Moderate
Comments: Works with SOD as an antioxidant.

Acetylcholine
Importance: Very High
Comments: Lack of this supplement may be a cause of dementia.

Boron
Importance: Very High
Comments: Helps brain function properly.

Coenzyme Q10
Importance: Very High
Comments: Raises the flow of oxygen to the cells. Helps produce cellular energy.

Ginkgo biloba
Importance: Very High
Comments: Promotes blood flow to the brain and healthy brain function.

Lecithin
Importance: Very High
Comments: Enhances memory. Includes choline.

Lecithin
Importance: Very High
Comments: Enhances memory. Includes choline.

Multivitamin and mineral complex
Importance: Very High
Comments: Provides necessary vitamins and minerals in balance. Best to get a formula that is extremely potent and hypoallergenic. potassium balances electrolytes.

Pycnogenol
Importance: Very High
Comments: Prevents free radical damage by easily passing the blood-brain barrier. Powerful antioxidants.

Grape seed
Importance: Very High
Comments: Prevents free radical damage by easily passing the blood-brain barrier. Powerful antioxidants.

Selenium
Importance: Very High
Comments: Guards brain cells. Potent antioxidant.

Vitamin B complex
Importance: Very High
Comments: Boosts healthy brain function. Helps break down food.

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
Importance: Very High
Comments: Depression and mental disorders can come from a lack of vitamin B6.

Vitamin B12
Importance: Very High
Comments: Aids in healthy brain function. Alzheimer's patients usually have a lack of vitamin B12. Quickest way to get results is through injections under a physician's care.

Vitamin B complex
Importance: Very High
Comments: Injections are recommended. If injections are unavailable, sublingual forms are good.

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
Importance: Very High
Comments: Injections are recommended. If injections are unavailable, sublingual forms are good.

Vitamin B25
Importance: Very High
Comments: Lozenge and sublingual forms are recommended.

Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5)
Importance: Very High
Comments: Changes choline into acetylcholine which aids in memory.

Zinc
Importance: Very High
Comments: Prevents amyloid plaque from forming (a disorder caused by lack of zinc).

Acetyl-l-carnitine
Importance: Moderate
Comments: Boosts brain metabolism. Could prevent memory regression.

Apple pectin
Importance: Moderate
Comments: Aids the body in getting rid of toxic metals, especially mercury which has played a role in causing dementia.

Calcium
Importance: Moderate
Comments: Soothing. Cooperates with magnesium.

Magnesium
Importance: Moderate
Comments: Inhibits natural calcium channels.

Free-form amino acid complex
Importance: Moderate
Comments: Helps with brain function. Aids in tissue reconstruction. Free-form provides the best absorption.

Kelp
Importance: Moderate
Comments: Provides essential minerals.

Melatonin
Importance: Moderate
Comments: Beneficial for healthy brain function. Supports sound sleep.

RNA and DNA
Importance: Moderate
Comments: Necessary to build brain's cellular system. Recommended to use a formula with 200 mg RNA and 100 mg DNA per tablet. Caution:Co not use this product if you suffer from gout.

Superoxide dismutase (SOD)
Importance: Moderate
Comments: Antioxidant. Boosts usefulness of oxygen.

Vitamin C
Importance: Moderate
Comments: Boosts immune system and energy levels. Strong antioxidant. Buffered form is recommended.

Vitamin E
Importance: Moderate
Comments: Antioxidant. Prevents free radical damage to brain cells. Provides brain cells with necessary oxygen.


Helpful herbs and supplements for this condition.


Butcher's Broom
Type: Internal
Purposes: Butcher's Broom strengthens the blood vessels and improves circulation problems.

Ginkgo biloba
Type: Internal
Purposes: Clinical studies show that Ginkgo Biloba Extract supports circulation to the brain and extremities. Ginkgo Biloba is also a proven free radical scavenger and antioxidant. "The American Medical Association published a report in the October 22, 1977 edition, Ginkgo Biloba Extract can stabilize and, in some cases, improve the mental functioning and social behavior of people with Alzheimer's disease. "
Dosage: Recommended dosage would be 100 to 200 mg of ginkgo biloba extract three times daily

Kava Kava and St. John's Wort
Type: Internal
Purposes: Reduces stress and anxiety and promotes friendliness and sociability. Lower dosages would be mildly sedating and even mildly intoxicating.
Cautions: Not for use for persons under 18. If you are a pregnant or lactating women, consult you physician before using this herb.

Qian ceng ta (Huperzia serata)
Type: Internal
Purposes: The Chinese herb qian ceng ta (Huperzia serata), also known as club moss, has been shown to provide maximum support and nourishment to cerebral functions. Two of its primary components, Huperzine A and Roseox, are known for their neuroprotective and antioxidant activity. Studies have shown a significant percentage of subjects with Alzheimer's disease have increased clear-headedness, language ability, and memory. The pure and standardized extracts of this herb inhibits acetylcholinesterase, an enzyme that degrades the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the brain, and is associated with memory and cognition.

Valerian Root
Type: Internal
Purposes: Valerian is used mainly as a sedative without the side effects associated with sleep aids. It has a relaxing effect on the nervous system.
Cautions: If taking sedatives or antidepressants consult your physician before taking this herb.

Advice


  • Be sure to have fiber in your diet.
  • Drink only Distilled water.
  • Eat a balanced diet.
  • Essential to perform an allergy test.
  • Smoking can increase the chance of developing Alzheimer's disease. Also do not drink alcohol, eat processed foods, and any environmental toxins.
  • Take a hair analysis for metal intoxication.
  • Use all resources for counseling and support groups for someone with Alzheimer.