Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, degenerative brain disorder that affects a person’s memory, thinking, behavior, and ability to perform everyday activities. It is the most common form of dementia and is caused by the buildup of proteins in the brain that damage and destroy nerve cells. Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include confusion, difficulty remembering recent events, difficulty with language, impaired judgment, personality changes, and difficulty completing everyday tasks.
What Is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that begins with memory loss and eventually leads to dementia and death. This disease affects four million Americans. It strikes about 10 % of people over 65 and about half of those who live beyond 85. While this seems like a daunting figure, it is important to note that researchers continue to find links between food, brain health, and the risk of developing this cognitive disorder, so statistics in the future might not be so grim. Scientists predict that in the coming years, these percentages are likely to rise. Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia. “Dementia” is the term given to memory loss when it is severe enough to impact a person’s daily living. Alzheimer’s causes a destruction of the brain cells that influence thinking and behavior. Unfortunately, it is a progressive disease, which means that it gets worse over time and there is no cure. While the exact cause is not known, it is suspected that oxidation can decrease mental capacity, including the ability to think, remember, and reason. Findings such as these suggest that dietary factors may influence and prevent Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s Disease is also known as Senile Dementia (Scientific Binomial Name), A progressive disease that destroys memory and other important mental functions (Common English), (Unani), Bhulane Ki Bimari (Hindi / Urdu), Alajhayamara (Tamil), Smriti Bhransh (Marathi), (Sanskrit), Aljheimera (Bengali), Aljimars (Telugu), Aljhaimarna (Kannada), Alsimels (Malayalam), Aer ci hai mo shi zheng (Mandarin / Traditional Chinese / Simplified Chinese).
Alzheimer’s disease targets a part of the brain called the hippocampus, which is the seat of memory and intellect. In a person with Alzheimer’s, the neurons in the hippocampus become entangled. The resulting formations, often called plaque, result in the loss of brain cells, especially those that make new memories and retrieve old ones. And memory problems characterize the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Acetylcholine is a brain chemical known as a neurotransmitter. Acetylcholine is a key ingredient to cognition and reasoning. People with Alzheimer’s often have a deficiency of Acetylcholine. DHA is the primary component of the cell membranes of neurons. It also promotes nerve transmission in the central nervous system and protects the mitochondria (energy warehouse of cells). Studies have shown that low levels of serum DHA are a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. There are specific nutrients that play a role in brain health and in preventing dementia and the development of Alzheimer’s. These include omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and B-complex vitamins B12, B6, and folate.
Common Symptoms and Early Signs of Dementia
In the beginning stages of the disease, people will experience some mild memory problems. They may struggle with complex tasks like planning a party or balancing a checkbook. As the disease progresses, it becomes increasingly difficult to remember events that occurred very recently – say, the day before, or even just a few hours prior to the present time. Memory loss at this point looks more and more like dementia: affected people may not recognize others close to them or be able to recall appropriate words. Eventually, complete dementia sets in. Personal memories disappear and, with them, the ability to recognize beloved people and places. Functional memories also become irretrievable. The person forgets how to perform daily functions, which include getting dressed, brushing the teeth, and using the toilet. Hallucinations or episodes of violence often attend this stage of the disease. At this point, it is rarely possible for a family member or a close friend to look after the sufferer, who needs 24 hour day care. Other common symptoms includes memory problems, confusion and disorientation, mood swings, depression, paranoia, inability to manage basic tasks, inappropriate behavior, hallucinations and delusions, episodes of violence and rage or childlike passivity and dementia.
Alzheimer’s – Senile Dementia Home Remedies
The problem with experimental and FDA approved drugs is their toxicity which carry a potential for liver disease. Since the premise is to slow the degeneration of Acetylcholine and preserve what is already in the brain, there are herbs that can help. It just makes sense to look at herbal alternatives, specifically those herbs that contain compounds that prevent the breakdown of Acetylcholine. Horsebalm, Rosemary, Brazil Nut, Dandelion, Fava Beans, Fenugreek, Ginkgo, Sage, Stinging Nettle, Willow and Gotu Kola are all beneficial for the treatment of Alzheimer’s. Those herbs that can be added as dietary supplements are encouraged. Horsebalm helps to prevent the breakdown of Acetylcholine. Add a few droppers of Horsebalm to a favorite herbal shampoo. Research has also shown that adding foods high in lecithin is promising. Plant foods such as Dandelion Flowers, Poppy Seeds, Soybeans and mung beans should also be added to the diet.
- Horsebalm – Prevent Breakdown of Acetylcholine: Horse balm contains the beneficial compound carvacrol, which Austrian scientists have discovered helps prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine. Horsebalm also contains thymol, which also prevents the breakdown of acetylcholine. Some compounds in horsebalm apparently can cross the blood brain barrier. Normally your body’s protective blood brain barrier helps prevent harmful substances in the blood from reaching the tissues of the brain. But because this blood-brain barrier sometimes works too well, it can also prevent helpful medicines from reaching the brain. The horsebalm compounds seem to cross that great divide, which means it might have some positive effects even if you use it as a shampoo or skin lotion. You won’t be able to buy shampoo that contains horsebalm, but it’s easy to make your own. Simply add several dropperfuls of horsebalm tincture to your favorite herbal shampoo.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids Supplements: Fish oil supplies essential fatty acids for proper brain function. The omega-3 fatty acids associated with brain health are those that come specifically from cold water oily fish such as wild salmon, albacore tuna, mackerel, sardines, and lake trout. Take a fish oil supplement as per your doctor’s advice. A different type of omega-3 fatty acid can be found in walnuts and flaxseed. This is converted to DHA in the body, the same fatty acid that comes from fish. While fish sources come more highly recommended when it comes to Alzheimer’s prevention, walnuts and flaxseeds are still healthy foods and can be considered a source of omega-3s.
- Ginkgo Herb As Brain Food: Ginkgo serves as a “brain food” and is a great memory aid. It also enhances vitality and improves circulation. I suggest gingko as a regular tonic herb for anyone experiencing memory loss or “brain fatigue.” In recent studies, it has been shown to halt the progression of Alzheimer’s when administered in therapeutic dosages (i.e., standardized extracts) over a period of time. Ginkgo must be used with consistency for several weeks before you will notice its benefits. It improves circulation to the brain, improves memory, and has antioxidant benefits. Use the standardized capsules or extracts when treating memory loss or early onset Alzheimer’s disease. To strengthen the mind and circulation, in general, ginkgo is effective as a tea, a tincture, or capsules. Consult doctor for appropriate dosage.
- Rosemary – An Effective Antioxidant: Some evidence suggests that oxidative damage caused by highly reactive (free radical) oxygen molecules in the body plays a role in Alzheimer’s. If that’s so, rosemary should help. It contains a couple of dozen antioxidants that is, compounds that help mop up free radicals. Among the antioxidants is a particularly potent one, rosmarinic acid. Rosemary also contains a half-dozen compounds that are reported to prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine. Interestingly enough, aromatherapists suggest using rosemary oil for treating Alzheimer’s disease. Rosemary has a long history as a memory enhancing herb, so much so that it’s known as the herb of remembrance. Try rosemary shampoo, rosemary tea and rosemary in the bathwater to have anti-Alzheimer’s activity similar to that of tacrine or huperzine. Using rosemary shampoo regularly could conceivably help preserve acetylcholine in the brain just as tacrine does. You can buy commercial herbal shampoo that contains rosemary, or you can make your own by adding rosemary tincture to your favorite herbal shampoo.
- An Aluminum-Free Baking Powder: A growing body of medical evidence links aluminum with this horribly progressive destruction of the brain, which causes severe memory loss, extreme personality changes and the inability to care for one’s self. Aluminum is found in many things, ranging from deodorants, buffered aspirins and hemorrhoid preparations to baby food, baking powder, self-rising flour and cake mixes, processed cheese and nondairy creamers. Your chances of getting Alzheimer’s later in life can be drastically reduced by not using aluminum pots and pans, nor cooking acidic vegetables like tomatoes or cabbage in fluoridated tap water in any aluminum cookware. And also by using an aluminum free baking powder in recipes which call for this item. Some food scientists have estimated that regular commercial baking powder may contain between 7-11 % of pure aluminum in two forms, aluminum potassium sulfate and aluminum sodium sulfate, which can be injurious to human health over an extended period of time. To make aluminum free baking powder, mix two parts of cream of tartar with one part of baking soda and cornstarch. Blend thoroughly before storing in an air tight container to prevent moisture from getting in. Cream of tartar (potassium bitartrate) is a natural byproduct of wine making, being a major part of the sediment left over. Arrowroot, the powdered starchy rhizome of Maranta arundinacea, may be substituted in place of cornstarch if you like.
- Brazil Nut – Natural Lecithin Source: In addition to looking into treatments focused on preventing the breakdown of acetylcholine, researchers have also been studying possible treatments that will supplement people’s supply of choline, a building block for acetylcholine. Lecithin contains choline, and according to my database, Brazil nuts are the richest food sources of lecithin. Many other plant foods and herbs also contain generous amounts of lecithin. They include, in descending order of potency, dandelion flowers, poppy seeds, soybeans and mung beans.
- Ashwagandha Ayurvedic Medicine: Ashwagandha (Withania somniferum)is used as a brain tonic in Ayurvedic medicine. It reduces stress hormone levels. Consult your doctor for your appropriate dose.
- Improve Memory and Balance Stress: Practice yoga, pranayama and meditation techniques to keep stress away. Stress can worsen memory issues. Regular practice of meditation can help to manage stress issues.
Tips to Prevent Senile Dementia
- Use turmeric as a spice when preparing meals. There are several clinical trials in humans studying the effects of curcumin against various diseases including colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, psoriasis, and Alzheimer’s disease. Curcumin may inhibit the destructive beta-amyloid in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients as well as break up existing plaque from the disease. Turmeric is main ingredient in many Indian recipes and research shows that India has comparatively less percentage of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Try including Fava beans in regular diet. These beans are quite rich in lecithin. Beans are rich in lecithin and choline and should be included in any diet, not just those for people concerned about preventing and treating Alzheimer’s.
- Go out of your way to stay mentally active. A study conducted on nuns, known as the Nun Study, found that those with the most education and language abilities were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s. But what really counts is not the amount of schoolbook learning you did, it’s how much you actively use your mind. Doing crossword puzzles, learning a second language, or playing Scrabble can tickle your brain.
- Fenugreek greens are also a good source of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that might also help prevent or slow the progression of Alzheimer’s.
- To improve circulation, increase energy levels, and detoxify your body, drink a glass of clean water every two waking hours.
- If you’re older, your digestive system may not be able to absorb nutrients as well as it used to. Fresh fruit and vegetable juices are easily absorbable and packed with the vitamins you need, so have several glasses daily.
- If you have a family history of Alzheimer’s or are otherwise concerned about this disease, start taking diet rich in lecithin and choline.
Q. How can I reverse Alzheimer’s naturally? Is it curable now?
Unfortunately, there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease. However, there are some lifestyle changes that may help slow the progression of the disease. These include:
- Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Exercising regularly.
- Taking part in mentally stimulating activities, such as puzzles or reading.
- Developing good sleep habits.
- Avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.
- Taking part in social activities.
- Taking supplements that may help, such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, ginkgo biloba, and curcumin.
- It is also important to speak with your doctor or a healthcare professional to find out what treatments are available to you.
Q. Can Alzheimer’s be reversed if detected early?
Unfortunately, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease and at this time there is no way to reverse the damage caused by the disease. However, early detection can lead to a better quality of life for those living with Alzheimer’s, as well as more time to plan for the future. Early detection can also lead to access to treatments and services that can help manage symptoms and slow the progression of the disease.
Q. What is the main cause of Alzheimer’s? What causes Alzheimer’s disease?
The exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease is not known. There is not one single cause of Alzheimer’s disease. It is believed to be caused by a combination of genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors that affect the brain over time. Genetic factors may play a role, as the disease is more common in those with a family history of the disease. Other risk factors include age, general health, lifestyle choices, and certain medical conditions.
Q. Can you stop Alzheimer’s from progressing? Can Alzheimer’s disease be reversed?
No, there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, however there are treatments available that can help slow its progression and improve quality of life. Alzheimer’s disease cannot be reversed. There is currently no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but there are treatments that can help manage the symptoms and slow down the progression of the disease.
Q. Is there a way to slow down Alzheimer’s?
There is no known way to slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s. However, there are a number of treatments and lifestyle interventions that have been found to help improve symptoms and slow the rate of decline. These include medications, cognitive and physical therapies, lifestyle changes (such as diet and exercise), and social activities.
Q. How do you treat Alzheimer’s naturally? What is the best remedy for Alzheimer’s?
There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Treatment focuses on managing symptoms and slowing progression. Medications, lifestyle strategies, and other treatments can help manage symptoms, reduce behavior problems, and improve quality of life. It is important to consult with a doctor about the best treatment plan for an individual.
- Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy lifestyle: Exercise has been shown to improve brain health and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s. Regular physical activity can help improve memory, increase blood flow to the brain, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and other conditions associated with Alzheimer’s.
- Eat a healthy diet: Eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and slow its progression.
- Get adequate sleep: Studies have shown that getting enough sleep can help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.
- Take supplements: Supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins B12 and D, and ginkgo biloba have been shown to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and slow its progression. But it is important to speak with your doctor or a healthcare professional to find out which treatment is suitable for you.
- Stay socially active: Socializing with friends and family can help reduce stress, which can help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.
- Manage stress: Stress can worsen the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, so it’s important to find ways to manage your stress levels.
- Engage in mentally stimulating activities: Doing activities such as reading, playing.
Q. What foods help fight Alzheimer’s?
- Foods high in antioxidants, such as blueberries, strawberries, kale, spinach, and other dark leafy greens.
- Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, walnuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds.
- Foods high in vitamin E, such as nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils.
- Foods high in B vitamins, such as eggs, legumes, and fortified whole grains.
- Foods high in healthy fats, such as avocados and olive oil.
- Foods high in fiber, such as legumes, nuts, and whole grains.
Q. Can you care for Alzheimer’s at home?
Yes, it is possible to care for someone with Alzheimer’s at home. However, it can be challenging and there are several factors to consider before deciding whether it is the right option. It is important to consult with a doctor, get support from family and other caregivers, consider the safety of the person with Alzheimer’s and their environment, and develop a plan that outlines the care that is needed.
Q. Will Alzheimer’s be cured in the next few years?
It is unlikely that a cure will be found in the next few years. Scientists and researchers around the world are working hard to try to better understand the disease and to find treatments and potential cures, but progress has been slow.
Q. Is there a simple method to effectively prevent Alzheimer’s disease?
There is no simple method to effectively prevent Alzheimer’s disease. However, there are some lifestyle changes that may help reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, engaging in mentally stimulating activities, and managing stress. Additionally, research suggests that certain medications, such as cholinesterase inhibitors, may help slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s in some individuals.
Q. How do you know if you are developing Alzheimer’s?
There is no single test that can definitively diagnose Alzheimer’s disease. To diagnose the condition, doctors look for a pattern of symptoms and use a variety of tests, including physical and neurological exams, laboratory tests, mental status assessments, and brain imaging techniques such as MRI and PET scans.
Q. Is Alzheimer’s disease hereditary?
Yes, in some cases, Alzheimer’s disease can be hereditary. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, studies have shown that there is an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s if a family member has had the disease. Researchers have identified certain genes that can increase a person’s risk, although it is unclear how these genes work together to cause Alzheimer’s.
Q. Do most people get Alzheimer’s disease?
No. Alzheimer’s disease is a specific type of dementia that affects a small percentage of the population.
Q. What are the early signs/stages of Alzheimer’s Disease? What are the initial signs of Alzheimer’s Disease that you noticed in people close to you or in yourself?
- Memory Loss: One of the most common early signs of Alzheimer’s is difficulty remembering newly learned information. This is often noticed first by family and friends.
- Challenges in Planning or Solving Problems: People with Alzheimer’s may experience changes in their ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers. They may have difficulty following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills. They may have trouble concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before.
- Difficulty Completing Familiar Tasks at Home, at Work or at Leisure: People with Alzheimer’s often find it hard to complete daily tasks. Sometimes, people may have trouble driving to a familiar location, managing a budget at work or remembering the rules of a favorite game.
- Confusion with Time or Place: People with Alzheimer’s can lose track of dates, seasons and the passage of time. They may have trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately. They may forget where they are or how they got there.
- Trouble Understanding Visual Images and Spatial Relationships: For some people, having vision problems is a sign of Alzheimer’s. They may have difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast, which can make it difficult to drive.
- New Problems with Words in Speaking or Writing: People with Alzheimer’s may have trouble following or joining a conversation. They may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue or they may repeat themselves. They may struggle with vocabulary, have problems finding the right word or call things by the wrong name.
- Misplacing Things and Losing the Ability to Retrace Steps: A person with Alzheimer’s disease may put things in unusual places. They may lose things and be unable to go back over their steps to find them again.
- Decreased or Poor Judgment: People with Alzheimer’s may experience changes in judgment or decision-making. This can include paying less attention to grooming or keeping themselves clean.
Q. Does aluminum really cause Alzheimer’s disease?
No, there is no conclusive scientific evidence that aluminum plays a role in causing Alzheimer’s disease. Research suggests that aluminum may play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease, but further study is needed to determine if there is a causal link.
Q. What is the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s disease?
Dementia is an umbrella term for a range of different symptoms associated with a decline in cognitive abilities, such as memory loss, difficulty with problem-solving, and impaired judgment. Alzheimer’s disease is a specific type of dementia, caused by the buildup of proteins in the brain to form plaques and tangles. It is the most common form of dementia, accounting for around two-thirds of all cases.
Q. Can lack of sleep make me more prone to developing Alzheimer’s disease?
No, lack of sleep is not directly linked to developing Alzheimer’s disease. However, poor sleep habits can increase your risk of developing other health issues, such as memory problems, which can increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Poor sleep habits can also affect cognitive functioning, which can contribute to the onset of Alzheimer’s. Therefore, getting enough sleep on a regular basis is important for overall health.