Alzheimer’s disease ranks sixth in the list of top mortality causes in the United States. The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that there are 5.4 million people afflicted with the disease, and this number is expected to rise rapidly in the coming years as the baby boomer population ages.
While we have yet to find a cure for Alzheimer’s, or a common medicine that can reverse its effects, a number of natural Alzheimer’s treatments have shown promise in terms of slowing down disease progression and enhancing quality of life Alzheimer’s patients:
Natural Alzheimer’s Treatment #1: Omega-3 fatty acids
Found primarily in fish oil, this ingredient on the list of natural Alzheimer’s treatments has been shown to slow down cognitive degeneration. University of California researchers experimented with mice bred to develop Alzheimer’s symptoms. They found that a DHA diet decreased the presence of specific proteins responsible for neural damage in the brains of these test subjects. The study indicates that DHA supplementation may be helpful in suspending the progression of Alzheimer’s symptoms. DHA is a type of omega -3 fatty acid found in eggs, fish, organ meats and algae.
Natural Alzheimer’s Treatment #2: Vitamin E supplements
A 2009 study presented at the American Geriatrics Society Annual Scientific Meeting showed that a therapy combining high vitamin E doses with a cholinesterase inhibitors slowed down the declining ability of Alzheimer’s patients to perform routine functions. Vitamin E is a viable alternative to other Alzheimer’s treatments but medical providers caution that large doses can be risky. This natural Alzheimer’s treatment should be pursued only under strict supervision by a health care provider. Food sources of vitamin E include nuts, seeds, broccoli and other greens as well as fruit like mangoes.
Natural Alzheimer’s Treatment #3: Lifestyle changes involving diet and exercise
A Mediterranean diet based on whole grains, fish, nuts, fruits, vegetables and healthy oils has been proven to benefit both heart and brain function. In conjunction with regular physical activity, this diet has been shown to reduce cognitive decline and to prevent its early onset. Proper nutrition and staying physically and mentally fit shows promise in slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s symptoms, along with a host of other benefits outside of memory function.
Natural Alzheimer’s Treatment #4: Sensory therapy
With declining cognitive abilities, Alzheimer’s patients can find new ways to communicate with caregivers through various sensory activities. Drama and music are often provided in long –term care facilities as a means of encouraging communication and relaxing the patient. Dance is a low impact physical activity that gives patients a sensory experience. Art activities such as pottery, done in a group setting or as an individual project is another sensory skill that that helps stimulate the mind and work to slow the progression of this disease when used in combination with other Alzheimer’s treatments.
Natural Alzheimer’s Treatment #5: Acupuncture
The National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization recognize the efficacy of acupuncture in treating a variety of medical conditions. Limited studies conducted by Wellesley College researchers found that patients affected by mild to moderate Alzheimer’s symptoms reacted positively to acupuncture treatment. Depression and anxiety scores and thinking skills showed a marked improvement. A separate study performed by Hong Kong researchers found enhanced cognitive abilities in Alzheimer’s patients after a series of acupuncture treatments.
Unfortunately, there is no miracle cure for Alzheimer’s disease. But natural Alzheimer’s treatments that slow down disease progression are welcome news for patients and their caregivers, and promote a healthier body and mind overall, which is central to maintaining a higher quality of life, whether suffering from Alzheimer’s or not. Have you found any of these treatments to be helpful in your experience with loved ones or patients suffering from Alzheimer’s?