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Natural Remedies: Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's disease is a disease that has been around a lot longer than there has even been a correct diagnosis for it. In fact, medical literature suggests that Alzheimer's disease used to be dismissed as senility in the aged. Often people feared growing old because of the senility and dementia that often occurred as what was thought to be part of the natural process of aging and dying.

Today we know so much more about the aging process, and that this process does not "naturally" include senility and dementia. Senility and dementia are disease processes that can be caused by many different ailments. One of the most well known causes of senility and dementia in the elderly is Alzheimer's disease. Those afflicted with this disease are know to form brain plaques and have a decline in the production of several key chemicals, which normally allow the nerves to transmit messages back and forth in the brain. The plaques are also thought to cause brain cell death, which account for the degenerative nature of this disease.

Is there a cure?

Unfortunately, there is no known cure for Alzheimer's disease, however there are some promising new medications on the market and in the development process which may help to slow the progression of this debilitating disease.

What can be done?

Early diagnosis is key. As mentioned above, there are some medications which may slow the progression of the disease. However these medications may not be right for everyone due to their side affects or even lack of ability to obtain or pay for them. In fact, much of the current research has begun to focus on natural remedies as a potential way to achieve the same effects as these new medications.

What Kind of Natural Remedies?

Antioxidants are showing strong promise in fighting off a myriad of diseases in the body, including Alzheimer's disease. Antioxidants fight free radicals that are created in our bodies. Free radicals are caused by the oxidation of Oxygen and these rogue oxygen molecules have been proven to cause damage not only to brain tissue, but to many other tissues and cells throughout the human body.

Some of the highest natural sources of antioxidants include Vitamin E and Green Tea. The antioxidants found in these may not be enough to halt all free radical damage, but it can clearly help your bodies natural defenses. Vitamin E in particular helps prevent the progression of Alzheimer's disease by preventing the sticky deposits from forming in the brain. In fact, researchers at Columbia University in New York, have found that large doses of Vitamin E (~2000 IU) every day were as effective as the prescription drug Eldepryl at slowing the progression of this disease.

There are other natural areas that are under study to help slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease. B Vitamins, amino acids and avoidance are all areas that are under study.

The family of B Vitamins has been under study as a potential defense against this disease. It seems as though B Vitamins could help play a role in protecting the fragile covering on all of the nerves, hence preserving mental function. It has been well established that a deficiency in Vitamin B can cause mental confusion and a decline in mental sharpness and performance. Good sources of these B Vitamins are Wheat germ, Turkey, fish, chicken, fresh pasta and seafood.

Amino acids such a L-Carnitine, which are found in foods such as eggs, kidney beans, and red meats also can help by carrying essential fats into the brain cells which keep them nourished and in preliminary studies appears to slow down the destruction of the brain.

The last thing that one can do is to avoid the potential risk factors. Eat a diet that is rich in vitamins and minerals for overall health and while no direct link has yet been proven, there is strong suspicion that exposure to Aluminum is a factor in the development of Alzheimer's disease. Early on, researchers found small deposits of Aluminum in the brains of some people with the disease. As we do not have conclusive evidence either way, it is best to be safe rather than sorry, and limit the exposure to these metals. Cook all food especially acidic (tomato sauce etc...) ones in stainless steel instead of aluminum pans. Pour sodas into a cup instead of drinking them from the can as it can cause you to ingest over 1 milligram more than the government established safety limit per day for each can you drink from. There is no way to remove these metals from the body once they are there so avoid the situation, in order to reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

What's New In the World of Research on Alzheimer's

Where and When:
Journal of Alzheimer's Disease - Volume 16, Number 1, January 2009

Researchers say that drinking apple juice can improve mental performance and subsequently tackle the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. Drinking two glasses of apple juice daily lowers the formation of beta-amyloids responsible for forming senile plaques, characteristic of AD, in mice. "These findings provide further evidence linking nutritional and genetic risk factors for age-related neurodegeneration, and underscore that dietary supplementation may be useful to augment therapeutic approaches."

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