Are There Effective Alternative Treatments?

Are There Effective Alternative Treatments?
Dear Debbie,
My dad was recently diagnosed with early stages of Alzheimer's disease. What are some alternative treatments for Alzheimer’s? Is there any value to certain herbs or spices? (Seeking to Outsmart Alzheimer’s)

Dear Seeking,
As always, first check with your neurologist or geriatric psychiatrist: Here are some Alternative Treatments that are in current vogue.
  • Ginkgo Biloba is a common herb is an antioxidant and appears to increase blood flow to the brain. Studies are reporting that Ginkgo Biloba extracts may slightly improve the memory of patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, it does not appear to be as effective as the standard AD agents (donepezil, rivastigmine, metrifonate). Ginkgo has few side effects, like a small risk for bleeding, which may be hazardous in combination with other blood-thinning medications, such as warfarin or high-doses of vitamin E. The herb is available over the counter. (Although there are no standards in the US by which to regulate it, the website compares brands by quality of ingredients.)
  • Turmeric. Interestingly, studies suggest that curcumin, a compound found in the spice turmeric, has properties that may protect against AD disease process. Turmeric eases the pain and swelling of arthritis and post-operative swelling. One theory suggests that AD is caused by inflammation and since Turmeric reduces swelling, then it can be helpful in AD prevention. Another benefit of Turmeric is that it helps prevent cancer.
  • Melatonin. Melatonin, a natural hormone involved in sleep regulation, is under review. Since it is an antioxidant, it may break down beta amyloid. Also Melatonin is able to pass through blood-brain barrier. Melatonin deficiencies have been observed in patients with AD. At the least it may be helpful, particularly for improving sleep habits in these patients.
  • NSAID's Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are being studied for treatment as well as prevention of Alzheimer's.
In addition, Omega 3’s, a low cholesterol diet, a normal blood pressure, exercise and creative activities have a high correlation with brain health.
Become heart smart and brain smart—the two are interrelated.
Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul, a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, a personal trainer and mind/body lecturer at Southampton College. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WLIE 540AM in New York City , produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit:

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