Alzheimer's supplements herbs vitamins natural remedies, alternative treatment, diet and food - medication and drug therapy information
Natural herbs and nutrients
as an alternative treatment, and review of research studies, role of diet and food
June 23 2018 by Ray Sahelian, M.D.

Leading a healthy lifestyle with a good diet, exercising, keeping the mind busy, getting good sleep, keeping a normal weight, smoking little or none, and perhaps taking low doses of antioxidants could all be of benefit in preventing this condition or reducing the risk. Obesity increases the risk of developing Alzheimer's and also speeds the onset at a younger age.

Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia, is a progressive disorder characterized by widespread loss of brain cells called neurons, beta-amyloid deposits in the cerebral blood vessels, development of plaques and the presence of neurofibrillary tangles. These changes, occurring in the cerebral cortex, the hippocampus and the middle and temporal lobes, are accompanied by decreased concentrations of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. In my opinion, it appears that a deficiency in antioxidant status may accelerate the progression of Alzheimer's disease, and making an effort through diet or supplements to have adequate antioxidant status can reduce the risk.

Role of diet and food, lifestyle factors
A diet that includes cold water fish (which have the important omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA), poultry, nuts, and certain fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease. Those who consume nutrients specifically selected for brain health have a lower risk of developing it compared with others, for instance vitamin E, vitamin B12 and folate, benefit the brain. People least likely to develop the disease eat more olive oil-based salad dressing, nuts, fish, tomatoes, poultry, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, fruits, and dark and green leafy vegetables and ate less red meat, organ meat or high-fat dairy products. Eating baked or broiled fish as little as once a week may boost brain health and lower the risk for cognitive impairment

Drinking fruit and vegetable juices frequently could help reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease in individuals at risk for developing the disease. There is evidence from both lab and animal studies that high levels of reactive oxygen species -- harmful byproducts of normal metabolism -- may be involved in the development of Alzheimer's disease. While vitamins and polyphenols contained in plant foods exert antioxidant effects and thus blunt the action of oxidants, certain ways of preparing these foods can deplete their nutrient content. Juicing, however, can preserve much of the antioxidant content of fruits and vegetables.

Researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine have found that a low carbohydrate diet that reduced total caloric intake by 30% prevented the development of a fundamental feature of Alzheimer's disease in mice genetically engineered to develop the disease.

What keeps you healthy overall, such as regular exercise and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, also helps prevent Alzheimer�s. People who are socially engaged are less likely to develop memory loss. Keeping the brain active with puzzles or games can help.

Running more than 10 miles a week may reduce the risk of dying from Alzheimer's disease. Walking can help, too, if the amount of energy expended is equivalent to running 10 miles weekly.

Natural remedy for Alzheimer’s Disease treatment, herbs vitamins and supplements - Alternatives to medication
While scientists have not fully determined the actual causes of Alzheimer’s disease, a number of treatment options have been proposed or tried over the years. Although more research needs to be done in order to find out the role of these supplements as a treatment, I think it is appropriate to give them a try since this condition currently has no cure or effective treatment. You are not likely to find this information in any official publication of Alzheimer's disease association or foundation. Some natural options for treatment or prevention include (discuss with your doctor first before you use these natural pills and to make sure they don't interfere with your current medications):






It is nearly impossible to know which of the above nutrients or herbs, or combinations thereof, are helpful as a treatment, prevention, or alternative Alzheimer's disease medication. It may be a trial and error process until the right combination or dosage is found. It is also very difficult to predict how these supplements interact with Alzheimer's medication prescription drugs. One has to be cautious with some of these supplements, particularly galantamine and huperzine since they can be quite potent. Also, when taking multiple supplements, make sure to reduce the dose of each one since they add on to each other and one could have insomnia or feel overstimulated.

The information I read here is helpful but unless I missed it there were no suggestions as to dosages for Alzheimer patients. Do you have any suggestions and I realize that you can't diagnose or prescribe.
    A. I can't give specific dosages since each person is different, is taking different other supplements, or different medications, has a different body weight, age, tolerance level etc. So I can't be specific.

Mind Power Rx for a healthy mind
We have not tested this natural and herbal mind formula for this neurological condition, so we don't know how effective it would be.This natural herbal and nutritional mind and memory enhancer is a sophisticated cognitive formula. It combines a delicate balance of brain circulation agents and neurotransmitter precursors with powerful natural brain chemicals that support healthy:

Memory and Mood
Mental clarity
Alertness and Focus

The herbs in this brain formula include: Ashwagandha, Bacopa, Fo-Ti, Ginkgo biloba,  Ginseng, Gotu kola, Reishi, and Rhodiola.  The nutrients and vitamins in Mind Power Rx include Acetyl-l-carnitine, Carnitine, Carnosine, Choline, DMAE, Inositol, Methylcobalamin, Pantothenic acid, Trimethylglycine, Tyrosine, and vinpocetine.

Q. My grandmother has all signs of the Alzheimer disease. Her mother and her brother had it too. She has been losing her short term memory and I am afraid it is going quite fast. Is there any possibility to stop it with any supplements? I read about your Mind Power Rx. However, are the dosages high enough to cure the condition?
    A. I am not aware of a cure for this condition but it is possible that certain nutrients and natural formulas could improve memory and focus and perhaps reduce the progression of this disease. It is not easy to predict which individual herb, supplement or a combination formula will work best without actually trying it.

I just got Mind Power Rx for my mother, who has early stage Alzheimer's disease. Then today I noticed your article on galantamine. Would it be OK to give her both supplements together, or do they have the same basic function?
Mind Power Rx does not contain a cholinesterase inhibitor like galantamine or huperzine. However, if your doctor decides to combine them, half a capsule of each would be preferable as a starter.

Vitamin supplements as treatment
J Alzheimers Dis. 2016. Maintenance of Cognitive Performance and Mood for Individuals with Alzheimer's Disease Following Consumption of a Nutraceutical Formulation: A One-Year, Open-Label Study. Twenty-four individuals diagnosed with AD received a nutraceutical formulation (NF: folate, alpha-tocopherol, B12, S-adenosyl methioinine, N-acetyl cysteine, acetyl-L-carnitine). Participants maintained their baseline cognitive performance over 12 months. These findings are consistent with improvement in cognitive performance in prior placebo-controlled studies with a nutraceutical formulation, and contrast with the routine decline for participants receiving placebo.

Efficacy of a vitamin / nutriceutical formulation for early-stage Alzheimer's disease: a 1-year, open-label pilot study with an 16-month caregiver extension.
Am J Alzheimers Dis Other Demen. 2008. Khan A, Paskavitz J, Remington R. Center for Cell Neurobiology and Neurodegeneration Research, University of Massachusetts Lowell, MA, USA.
We examined the efficacy of a vitamin / nutriceutical formulation (folate, vitamin B6, alpha-tocopherol, S-adenosyl methionine, N-acetyl cysteine, and acetyl-L-carnitine) in a 12-month, open-label trial with 14 community-dwelling individuals with early-stage Alzheimer's disease. Participants improved in the Dementia Rating Scale and Clock-drawing tests. Family caregivers reported improvement in multiple domains of the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI) and maintenance of performance in the Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study-Activities of Daily Living (ADL). Performance on the NPI was equivalent to published findings at 3 to 6 months for donepezil and exceeded that of galantamine and their historical placebos. Participants demonstrated superior performance for more than 12 months in NPI and ADL versus those receiving naproxen and rofecoxib or their placebo group.

Efficacy of a Vitamin / Nutriceutical Formulation for Moderate-stage to Later-stage Alzheimer's disease: A Placebo-controlled Pilot Study.
Am J Alzheimers Dis Other Dementia. 2009. Remington R, Chan A. Department of Nursing, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, Massachusetts, Center for Cell Neurobiology and Neurodegeneration Research, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, Massachusetts.
Recent studies demonstrated efficacy of a vitamin / nutriceutical formulation (folate, vitamin B12, alpha-tocopherol, S-adenosyl methionine, N-acetyl cysteine, and acetyl-L-carnitine). Herein, we tested the efficacy of this formulation in a small cohort of 12 institutionalized patients diagnosed with moderate-stage to later-stage Alzheimer's disease. Institutional caregivers reported approximately 30% improvement in the Neuropyschiatric Inventory and maintenance of performance in the Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study-Activities of Daily Living for more than 9 months.

Alpha-lipoic acid as a new treatment option for Alzheimer's disease--a 48 months follow-up analysis.
J Neural Transm Suppl. 2007. Department of Medical Rehabilitation and Geriatrics, Henriettenstiftung, Hannover, Germany.
In a previous study, 600mg alpha-lipoic acid was given daily to nine patients (receiving a standard treatment with choline-esterase inhibitors) in an open-label study over an observation period of 12 months. The treatment led to a stabilization of cognitive functions. In this report, we have extended the analysis to 43 patients over an observation period of up to 48 months. In patients with mild dementia, the disease progressed extremely slowly, in patients with moderate dementia at approximately twice the rate. However, the progression appears dramatically lower than data reported for untreated patients or patients on choline-esterase inhibitors in the second year of long-term studies.

Curcumin and turmeric
Curcumin inhibits formation of Abeta oligomers and fibrils, binds plaques and reduces amyloid in vivo.
J Biol Chem. 2004. University of California Los Angeles, North Hills, CA
The phenolic yellow curry pigment curcumin has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities and can suppress oxidative damage, inflammation, cognitive deficits, and amyloid accumulation. Ourgh data suggest that low dose curcumin effectively prevents fibril and oligomer formation, supporting the rationale for curcumin use in clinical trials preventing or treating Alzheimer's disease.

Melatonin and morning sun exposure
Sun exposure or bright light along with an evening dose of melatonin helps normalize the sleep-wake cycle in elderly adults with Alzheimer's disease. Patients commonly have disrupted sleep at night and nap frequently during the day. Researchers looked at whether light therapy -- alone or along with melatonin supplements -- could restore a more natural sleep-wake cycle. Dr. Glenna A. Dowling, of the University of California, San Francisco, randomly assigned 50 nursing home patients with Alzheimer's to one of three groups for a period of ten weeks. Patients in the first group were given light therapy for one hour. The light therapy consisted of either natural light alone, or additional artificial light when needed. Patients in the second group received both morning light therapy as well as a dose of melatonin a few hours before bedtime. Those in the third group were exposed to only normal indoor light and were not given melatonin. The combination of light therapy and melatonin reduced daytime sleepiness and increased patients' activity during the day. Light therapy alone, however, was not enough to be helpful. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, February 2008.
   Comments: The ideal long term melatonin dosage for patients is not clear but my thought is that half or 1 mg every other night or every third night is a good option.

Sage herb
Email from a doctor who says: I have a patient who was not doing well on the Alzheimer's medications Aricept and Namenda until we added nicotine patch and sage extract. He is my poster child! Sage contains several cholinesterase inhibitors and could help Alzheimer's disease.

Rational for use of antioxidants
Alzheimer's disease, oxidative injury, and cytokines.
J Alzheimers Disease. 2004.
Alzheimer's disease is infrequently a genetically driven disease. Rather it is the product of free radical injury inflicted over decades after an initial insult to the central nervous system (CNS). The brain is uniquely sensitive to oxidative injury. A variety of insults to the CNS are now associated. These include hypertension, diabetes, and head trauma. These then cause a cytokine cascade and microlocalized inflammation in the CNS, that in time results in clinical disease. By the ninth decade of life over half of the population manifests Alzheimer's disease. Prevention or reversal will lie in administration of effective antioxidant therapy with specific treatments when etiologies are known.

The benefits of antioxidant fruits and berries such as blueberries has been known for some time. Just recently we heard that blueberries have been found to be beneficial in regenerating brain cells, and may help fight Alzheimer's disease. Would you suggest taking blueberry extract for someone who has been diagnosed with early Alzheimer's?
   All berries have great antioxidant benefits. Perhaps blueberry supplements may be helpful in lowering the risk and perhaps slowing the cognitive decline. There are many plant extracts and supplements that could be beneficial for Alzheimer's disease and it is difficult to know how many to take and what dosage is appropriate.

Walking, gardening and generally being physically active after age 65 appears to ward off dementia, including Alzheimer's disease. Older people with stronger muscles are at reduced risk of developing this neurological condition compared to their weaker peers.

Mental exercise
People who spent most of their lives in jobs that involve little brain work appear more likely to eventually develop this condition.

Sleep and insomnia
People who miss a night of sleep have a buildup in their brain of a substance called beta-amyloid.

Alzheimers medication treatment
Finding a treatment to reverse or stop Alzheimer's disease is proving elusive. As of 2016, there's been no new drug approved in the U.S. since memantine (Namenda) in 2003. That drug aims to help symptoms such as memory problems but can't halt the long-term progression of the disease.

Several Alzheimer's medication drugs are available including cholinesterase inhibitors such as donepezil, rivastigmine, and galantamine. I am not convinced an Alzheimer medication of this sort offers a long term effective treatment, solution, or cure. Antipsychotics and benzodiazepines, especially in combination, hasten mental decline. Atypical antipsychotic drugs used to treat Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia may be associated with an increased risk of death.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) charged with assessing whether drugs and procedures are worth their cost said that Aricept, Exelon, Reminyl, and Ebixa should not be reimbursed by the national health service.The committee said the clinical gains with the drugs called acetylcholinesterase inhibitors were small and the evidence on outcomes of importance to patients and caregivers, such as quality of life and time to institutionalisation, was "limited and largely inconclusive."

The FDA approved a combination pill for moderate to severe Alzheimer's disease in people already being treated with both drugs. The pill, called Namzaric, combines memantine hydrochloride extended-release (Namenda) and donepezil hydrochloride (Aricept). I am concerned about serious side effects with this combination.

Synthroid thyroid medication
I'm quite interested in L-Carnitine and Alpha Lipoic acid for my Grandma, who has Alzheimer's. However, she does take Synthroid for her hypothyroidism. Would these supplements be contraindicated in someone taking Synthroid or would frequent monitoring of thyroid hormones be acceptable and if so, how often would you recommend thyroid tests? It's great that there are doctors like yourself who think outside of the box. I wish there were more doctors like you!
    There are many, many factors that need to be considered before supplementing and hormone medications are only one of these factors. As a general rule, if a person is taking a small amount of a natural supplement, that is not likely to have much of an influence on hormone levels. Older individuals are more sensitive to medications and certain supplements and hence their dosage should be lower, even if it means taking a portion of a capsule or tablet. I cannot be specific in giving further details because each person is different in their requirement or response.

Cause of Alzheimer's Disease
There is a very high genetic cause for Alzheimer's disease. In addition to genetics as a cause of Alzheimer's disease, many environmental factors including diet are to be considered. Older adults who smoke have an elevated risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
   Nerve signals travel across synapses with the help of chemicals known as "neurotransmitters," including one called acetylcholine. Nerve cell destruction causes a reduction in acetylcholine, leading to impaired transmission of nerve signals and poor communication between nerve cells called neurons. In addition to acetylcholine, the brain of Alzheimer�s disease patients have areas of abnormal protein called "plaques" and "tangles," the names reflecting what these abnormalities in the brain look like under the microscope. The underlying cause of Alzheimer's � what actually triggers the changes in the brain � is still not fully known but could partly be due oxidation and damage to nerve cells over time. It is likely that no single factor is responsible, but rather that it is due to a variety of factors, which may differ from person to person. People whose parents or brothers and sisters develop the disease appear to be at greater risk of developing it themselves, so there may be a genetic component. However, no straightforward pattern of inheritance has been found. It is known that head injury is a risk factor, and also that Alzheimer�s disease often affects people with Down�s syndrome. Some researchers have suggested that people who exercise their brains (for example, doing crosswords and other mental agility exercises) are less likely to develop the disease. And Omega 3 fatty acids, contained in oily fish such as mackerel and salmon may, also help to prevent dementia. But there is no completely solid evidence to show how environmental factors influence the chance of getting Alzheimer�s.
   Australian scientists say they have identified a toxin that may play a key role as a potential cause of Alzheimer's disease. The toxin, called quinolinic acid, kills nerve cells in the brain, leading to dysfunction and death. Quinolinic acid may not be the main cause of Alzheimer's disease, but it plays a key role in its progression.
   Anesthetics used in long surgery, such as inhaled anesthetics isoflurane and halothane, may be another cause of Alzheimer's disease. Scientists conducted a series of lab experiments using nuclear magnetic resonance to investigate the reaction of amyloid-beta peptides to the inhaled anesthetic isoflurane and the intravenous anesthetics propofol and thiopental. They found that the peptides aggregated together after 10 to 30 hours' exposure to isoflurane, depending on the concentration of the gas and the size of the protein fragments. The effect was seen with propofol after exposure for 48 hours, but no clumping was seen with thiopental. Biochemistry, 2007.
   Having frequent colds or flu or other infections increases the risk for this neurological deterioration due to increased overall inflammation in the body and brain.
   Repeated blows to the head may cause nerve-degenerative diseases like Lou Gehrig's disease and Alzheimer's. Journal of Neuropathology & Experimental Neurology, 2010.
   As body fat increases, so do blood levels of a protein fragment linked to Alzheimer's disease, which may explain the reported association between obesity and the brain-wasting disease. Obesity by itself, even in otherwise healthy middle-aged people, is associated with elevated levels of the amyloid peptide that builds up and causes Alzheimer's. Amyloid is normally made all throughout the body at various lengths. Researchers at Edith Cowan University in Joondalup, Western Australia investigated whether levels of the peptide, plasma amyloid-beta 42,were related to body mass index (BMI) or fat mass in 18 healthy adults. As BMI rose, so did amyloid-beta 42 blood levels. The same was true for fat mass. But there was no relationship between BMI or fat mass and another peptide, amyloid-beta 40, which is not associated with disease. Fat itself -- not the diseases that excess weight can cause -- that may be increasing levels of the dangerous protein. To learn more about amyloidosis.

Older adults who habitually use sedatives for anxiety or insomnia have a heightened risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. The drugs in question are benzodiazepines, a widely prescribed group of sedatives that include lorazepam (Ativan), diazepam (Valium) and alprazolam (Xanax). Older adults commonly take the drugs for anxiety or insomnia, often long-term.

The virus that causes common cold sores -- herpes simplex -- might increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease,  but the more evidence is needed to support this theory, Oct. 7, 2014, Alzheimer's & Dementia online.

Heartburn medications raise a senior's risk of dementia. Called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), this group of drugs includes Prilosec, Nexium and Prevacid.

In your article online you talk of treatments for Amyloidosis disease. Has anyone considered Serrapeptase and its ability to break down protein as an alternative for the disease?
   A. I am not aware of such studies.