Herbal Supplements for Alzheimer’s, Do They Work?
Article by Dennis Cutforth
Studies indicate that some Herbal Supplements are relatively safe and as effective as prescription drugs for Alzheimer’s or Dementia patients. Since they are actually being recognized as drugs by the authorities it would make sense to treat them as such. It would also make sense to seek out a knowledgeable Integrative Medicine physician who has training in herbs and nutritional treatments.
After a person has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or non-Alzheimer’s dementia he or she and their loved ones may feel desperate and frustrated with their physician’s recommendations. Dietary supplements are an interesting option or add on to medications and may offer hope for individuals and families. However, consider all of the facts before trying one of these treatments and seek reliable information. Any drug or herb has benefits or risks attached and in combining them their can be possible interactions as well.
The Integrative Medicine Approach
Since herbs, vitamins, antioxidants and fatty acids etc. are increasingly being studied for their potential benefit to patients it would make sense to go to physicians with training in this area. If you want cosmetic surgery you aren’t going to seek out a physician who doesn’t have any training in this area. Therefore you cannot rely on the advice of any physician who hasn’t had training with nutritional approaches and in fact may be biased against non-drug treatments. He/she may be unaware of the up to date scientific information which has shown herbs and nutrients to be helpful for brain disorders.
The type of physician that you should seek out is an Integrative Medicine physician. These physicians use a blended approach to healthcare, combining Conventional Medicine with appropriate Complementary and Alternative Medicines. This approach has proven to be safe and effective for a number of medical conditions. Taking over the counter herbal products without the advice of these experts could cause problems though.
A study in the Jan-Feb 2005 American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found – “Results show that the integrative treatment not only protracted [prolonged] cognitive decline for 24 months but even improved cognition, especially memory and frontal lobe functions.” The American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias of Mar-Apr 2006 stated – “Although some Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs are available for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, the outcomes are often unsatisfactory, and there is a place for alternative medicine, in particular, herbal medicine.”What does the Scientific Medical Literature say about herbs?
Let’s look at the two most studied herbs with the best available information here, because there is a lot of scare mongering about the effectiveness and safety of herbal therapies.
Gingko Biloba is it an Herb or Drug?
Recent studies have shown positive results with a specially formed Ginkgo formula. The European Journal of Neurology in September 2006 reported in a randomized placebo-controlled double-blind study that Ginkgo was as effective as the drug donepezil.
In fact the herb Ginkgo biloba is sold and regulated as a drug in Germany. This means that it should be treated as a drug and used with caution when combined with medications such as aspirin and other anticoagulant drugs and under the guidance of a physician.
Galantamine is it a Drug or an Herb?
The British Medical Journal (BMJ) in December of 2000, reported that galantamine appears to slow the decline in both cognition and functional ability in Alzheimer’s patients. This was a large 653 study from 86 clinics, with patients suffering from mild to moderate disease. Interestingly, if herbs are as ineffective as critics say then why has this herb been granted FDA approval for sale as a prescription drug under the brand name Razadyne (formerly Reminyl). It is ironic that galantamine with over a 50 year history of use as a natural herbal product, from the snowdrop plant, is recognized as a drug but is still available without a prescription.
In fact the drug Razadyne (Galantamine) is an herb. The drug is exactly the same as the herbal extract except for the price, naturally, pun intended.
Before adding any supplements to Alzheimer’s or dementia treatment plans, consult with an Integrative Medicine physician to make sure it’s safe, right for you and won’t interfere with any other medications. There are other promising herbs these physicians will be aware of to inform you about. Ask questions so you have a realistic expectation of what supplements can achieve as there is no cure, however you can enjoy a better quality of life.
Dennis Cutforth is a researcher and writer with over 35 years experience in health-care sales, marketing and research in pharmaceuticals and natural health. Dennis will cut through all the propaganda and give you the real facts about what really works to make you healthier and happier. Visit his website Get A Better Life Today.http://www.getabetterlifetoday.com/
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Here a some other alzheimers and dementia websites that I found for you to browse. Thank you for visiting Treatment For Alzheimers
Dementia - Wikipedia the free encyclopedia
Five Stages of Dementia | Reference.com Answers
Pat Summitt: Legendary Coach Stares Down Dementia - ABC News
AlzGA - Twitter
BARBARA BROYLES ALZHEIMER AND DEMENTIA TRAINING ...
Caregiving_and_dementia encyclopedia topics | Reference.com
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