Alzheimer’s disease, which is a form of dementia, kills nerve cells and tissues in the brain. It affects one in eight people over 64 years old. Symptoms include short-term memory loss, disrupted speech patterns, mood swings and behavior such as poor hygiene that often denotes confusion. But there are a few natural ways to treat or prevent Alzheimer’s.
Benefits of Exercise
Exercise can help sufferers retain strength and coordination, enhance mood and reduce anxiety. Repetitive activities in general, ranging from a walk to household chores, can yield similar benefits.
A proper diet could help prevent Alzheimer’s. According to certain studies, consuming lots of vegetables, fish and nuts may make you less likely to get Alzheimer’s.
Acetyl L-carnitine (as shown on the left), which is available as a supplement, is a form of carnitine — a chemical produced by the liver and kidneys to help cells produce energy. There are studies in which the mental functions of people with Alzheimer’s who took the supplement either improved or demonstrated slower degeneration.
Beef, chicken, milk, cheese and other animal-based foods are a good source of carnitine. The chemical does have potential side effects and interactions with medications. Some people are also allergic to it, so exercise caution before using it. Phosphatidylserine, a compound that is produced by the body and considered important to cell structure, is also used in supplement form to treat Alzheimer’s along with attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder and other conditions. This is due in part to studies suggesting that it may help improve memory, although online sources state that more research is still needed and caution should always be used with supplements.
According to a 2010 study published in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition, 78 seniors with mild cognitive problems took either a supplement containing phosphatidylserine or a placebo over six months — the supplements appeared to substantially improve the memories of those who took them.
Although statements made online by the Alzheimer’s Association expressed doubt over the effectiveness or safety of many alternative treatments for Alzheimer’s, the organization refers to two studies were discussed at its international conference in 2009 regarding DHA (docosahexaneoic acid) — an omega-3 fatty acid found in the brain and in nerve cell membranes. Omega-3 acids can reduce inflammation and protect nerve cell membranes.
The first study, which was published in the Journal of American Medical Association in November of 2010, indicated that certain people in the study group of subjects with Alzheimer’s that took two grams of DHA daily appeared to benefit slightly. More research is needed to gauge the value of the results, according to the association.
The second study, which was conducted by the manufacturer of the DHA used, involved adults with standard age-related mental decline using 900 milligrams of DHA. The participants using it appeared to improve slightly on computer-based memory tests.