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Alzheimer's Alternative Treatment

Alzheimer's alternative and home remedies may offer sufferers some hope for slowing down this often misunderstood disease.

Green tea, high in Vitamin C, can be used as an alternative treatment for Alzheimer's.[© Shutterstock, 2010]
© Shutterstock, 2010
Green tea, high in Vitamin C, can be used as an alternative treatment for Alzheimer's.

Alzheimer's Alternative and Home Remedies

Alzheimer's alternative and home remedies may offer sufferers some hope for slowing down this often misunderstood disease. Alzheimer's is not just about losing ones memory. The disease slowly overtakes the brain and its functions. Its victims gradually lose their ability to learn, reason, make decisions, communicate and perform daily activities. This most common form of dementia has no cure.

According to the Alzheimer's Association, an increasing amount of alternative treatments and home remedies are being lauded for their ability to improve memory. Simple measures like exercising the brain and taking supplements and nutrients may even slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease. However, patients should check with a physician before trying alternative and home remedies for Alzheimer's.

Brain Aerobics

Exercising the brain is one of the best natural ways to prevent or stall the onset of Alzheimer's disease. In fact, reports show that it may even reduce a patients chances of developing Alzheimer's by as much as 70 percent. Mental stimulation helps to produce brain cells and the connections between them, as well as to strengthen existing cells. The Alzheimer's Research & Prevention Foundation recommends engaging in brain aerobics for a minimum of 20 minutes, three times a week.

Contrary to belief, research confirms that one is never too old to learn. Elderly people can enhance their memory and their ability to solve problems with practice. This, in turn, can lower their chances of developing Alzheimer's. Mental exercise should engage the individuals attention, involve multiple senses and mix up one of the individuals daily activities. Ways to stimulate the brain include:

  • studying a musical instrument, a foreign language or a new form of dance
  • taking up a new hobby
  • joining a book club
  • doing crossword or jigsaw puzzles, word search or word jumbles
  • participating in group discussions or debates
  • engaging in healthy competition by playing cards or board, strategy and memory games
  • visiting museums, educational lectures or entertainment venues.

Nutritional Therapy

Diets rich in beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E are recommended for Alzheimer's sufferers. These antioxidants can neutralize the free radicals that are known to damage brain tissue and accelerate aging. Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial as they are believed to prevent harmful plaque buildups in the brain. Diets for individuals with Alzheimer's disease should also keep cholesterol, saturated fats, sugar and salt to a minimum.

Foods rich in beta-carotene include dark orange, red and green vegetables such as apricots, carrots, spinach and sweet potatoes. Vitamin C is found in broccoli, grapefruit, oranges and strawberries; while vitamin E is contained in whole grain, nuts, egg yolks, sardines and leafy greens. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in most fish, including salmon, sardines and tuna, as well as flax oil and spinach. Liver and whole-grain cereals contain selenium.

Vitamin E Supplements

A research study funded by the federal government indicates that vitamin E somewhat delays an individuals inability to perform everyday activities. The vitamins antioxidant properties may be able to prevent chemical wear and tear on the brains nerve cells. However, vitamin E supplements should not be used to treat Alzheimer's disease unless recommended by a health care professional, as high doses may interact negatively with other drugs.

Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo biloba is a Chinese medicinal herbal supplement used to enhance memory. It is believed to possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may help Alzheimer's sufferers. The University of Maryland Medical Center states that gingko biloba may offer several benefits to those with Alzheimer's, including improved cognitive functioning such as thinking, learning and remembering, better social interaction, less severe depression and better performance in day-to-day activities. The centers research has also determined that this herbal supplement could equal the effectiveness of leading drugs when it comes to stalling Alzheimer's progression and even delaying its onset.

Concerns About Alternative Remedies

Many Alzheimer's sufferers and their families are seeking relief in alternative remedies. However, alternative medications are not governed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), thereby creating some concern when used instead of or in conjunction with prescribed medications. Those considering alternative remedies for Alzheimer's disease should be aware of several concerns:

FDA guidelines do not require supplement manufacturers to document the safety and effectiveness of their products. Manufacturers establish their own product safety and truth in labeling guidelines. There is no system of checks and balances. Manufacturers do not have to inform the FDA of any consumer problems with their products. Serious interactions may occur between supplements and prescription drugs.

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