Alzheimer’s Disease: Overview
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a chronic neurodegenerative disease which can be categorized under the umbrella term ‘Dementia’ — that is, a group of conditions which has a notable effect on mental cognitive tasks, like memory and reasoning. Some time-tested natural treatments for Alzheimer’s disease can be very effective in managing the symptoms of the disease by supporting brain functioning.
Alzheimer’s disease is a slowly progressive disease of the brain. It accounts for approximately 60-70% of the cases of Dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is essentially characterized by impairment of memory; and it ultimately causes problems in language (speaking/writing), perception, reasoning, and planning.
Just like other conditions categorized under Dementia, Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative condition resulting from ‘brain cell death.’ In other words, Alzheimer’s disease is marked by progressive brain cell death which occurs over a period of time. The disease generally starts slowly, and gets worse with time.
In Alzheimer’s disease, the total size of the brain shrinks gradually; with the tissue having progressively fewer nerve cells and connections. According to scientists, the chief cause of Alzheimer’s disease is nerve cell death which is a result of an increase in the production or build-up of ‘beta-amyloid protein’ in the brain.
The most common indication of the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease in the initial stage is short-term memory loss, or difficulty in remembering recent events. Slowly, with the advancement of the disease, the sufferers start having difficulties with language; along with mood swings, disorientation, problems in performing familiar tasks, depression, loss of motivation, behavioural problems, vision problems, and inability to manage self care. A further deterioration in the condition generally leads to loss of interest in day-to-day activities, and withdrawal from the family and the society. Eventually, the sufferers lose control over their bodily functions, and the condition finally leads to death.
In nearly one-third of the cases of Alzheimer’s diseases, the risk of the disease is believed to be genetic, usually involving several genes. Besides genetics, some of the other risk factors of the disease include hypertension, depression, or head injuries in the past. The progression of the disease is linked to plaques and tangles in the brain.
Top 7 Natural Treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease
For managing Alzheimer’s disease, a combination of medications and non-medication based treatments is used for providing relief to the sufferers. Since the progression of Alzheimer’s disease cannot be stopped or reversed, it is believed that the risk of Alzheimer’s disease can possibly be decreased if an individual performs mental exercises, remains physically active, and controls his/her weight to avoid becoming obese.
Moreover, there are some extremely beneficial natural treatments for Alzheimer’s disease which can provide relief from the symptoms of the disease and improve the functioning of the brain. The top 7 most effective natural treatments for the disease are:
1. Seeds Containing Lots of Essential Nutrients
The intake of certain seeds — such as sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds — is one of the most effective natural treatments for the management of Alzheimer’s disease. These seeds are abundant in essential nutrients which can support the proper functioning of the brain cells and enhance an individual’s cognitive capabilities.
People at risk of or suffering from Alzheimer’s disease should regularly consume these seeds with water. Alternatively, around one teaspoon each of powdered sesame, pumpkin and sunflower seeds should be mixed in milk and taken daily.
Turmeric — a common household spice — contains a wonderful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound called ‘Curcumin’ which is known for its ability to boost brain tissues. Curcumin apparently slows the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by reducing the number of plaques in the brain. Furthermore, it can also prevent the accumulation and clumping of beta-amyloid protein in the brain.
For managing Alzheimer’s disease, half teaspoon of turmeric should be added to a glass of warm milk and taken every night.
3. Ashwagandha Herb
The Ashwagandha herb (Withania somnifera) is widely used in herbal formulations prepared for treating brain-related conditions. This herb is widely known for its capability to provide nutrition to brain cells.
Herbal products prepared from the Ashwagandha herb can be very helpful in the effective management of Alzheimer’s disease. Alternatively, as a home remedy, one teaspoon of dried powder of Ashwagandha herb can be added to a glass of warm milk and taken on a daily basis.
4. Gotukola Herb
The Gotukola herb (Centella asiatica) is also one of the most beneficial natural treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. This herb can enhance memory, improve blood circulation, support the metabolism of the body, and maintain a healthy brain.
Gotukola herb can either be taken in the form of herbal formulation available from a renowned herbal manufacturing company, or 500mg of dried powder of Gotukola should be consumed with water, two times a day.
5. Sesame Oil
The regular use of sesame oil can also provide desired results for managing Alzheimer’s disease. The benefits of sesame oil are aptly recognized by the practitioners of Ayurveda since olden times. This oil is especially beneficial in managing depression and other similar issues associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
For best results, a small quantity of warmed sesame oil should be rubbed on the top of the head and bottoms of the feet. Alternatively, warmed sesame oil can also be used as nose drops — 2-3 drops per nostril, two times a day.
6. Green Leafy Vegetables
Adding dark green leafy vegetables — like Spinach, kale, swiss chard, etc. — to daily diet can also be beneficial in managing Alzheimer’s disease. These vegetables can stimulate the cognitive function because of the presence of abundant amounts of folic acid.
7. Fatty Acids
The intake of fatty acids is also known to have an excellent effect on healthy brain functioning. Fatty acids are often called ‘brain foods,’ and they are present in high amounts in fish. Hence, fish should be added to the diet of Alzheimer’s patients at least two times a week. The best choices in fish for Alzheimer’s patients are: salmon, sardines, light tuna, lake trout, and anchovies.
Conclusion: The above-mentioned natural treatments for Alzheimer’s disease are effective remedies which can be very useful for the management of Alzheimer’s disease. On the whole, research has revealed that Vitamin C, Vitamin E, beta-carotene and other natural antioxidants can be helpful in scavenging free radicals which are generated during the start and gradual progression of Alzheimer’s disease.