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Alzheimer's Disease

One of the most chronic and destructive neurological disorders currently well documented and actively researched on is known as Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's is a progressive degenerative disease in which brain tissue degenerates often over a long period of time, and can takes years upon years to make a major impact on the normal functioning of the human brain. Alzheimer's usually comes in as a benign form of memory loss common in people of advanced ages and sometimes even starts off being misdiagnosed as mild senile dementia, with which it does share some very important characteristics. The main devastating impact of the disease is however only fully recognized when the affected person loses his or her entire ability for recollection of memory, the disease so to speak steals a persons personality away from them as a total loss of memory is often the result with advanced Alzheimer's. Since the disease is known to progress over a period of time, it is always in old age that a person really is affected by its particular symptoms. The neurological and nervous tissue in an affected persons brain are destroyed to such a large extent that most areas of the brain that act as reservoirs for memory are functionally impaired, the person has no more recall left, leading to such painful circumstances such as cases where, the affected person may not be able to even recognize members of his or her own family. Thankfully, if in fact there are any reasons to be thankful about, the onset of Alzheimer's is not fast and the family members of most affected individuals have time in which to adjust to the unfortunate and slow deterioration of a loved one.

There are no known cases of a sudden appearance of Alzheimer's in a person, even the emergence of its early and mild symptoms are in general very slow, there is often therefore grounds for misdiagnosis because it shares so many symptoms with other more benign forms of senility and general memory loss. There are however several tell tale signs and peculiarities about the disease, even in its early manifestations, especially signs like inexplicable memory loss, the decision making ability of affected individuals are also greatly impaired, those who suffer typically finding it extremely hard to make even relatively simple decisions and choices- there is therefore a huge emotional strain on the caretakers and family of sufferers, who are devastated by scenes such as the painful act of watching their loved one unable to perform even very basic and daily tasks and seeming utterly helpless all of a sudden. Most Alzheimer's affected individuals are even more helpless in the advanced stages of the disease, since Alzheimer's is not suddenly lethal, most sufferers eventually reach this advanced stage, at this stage they become completely helpless, memory loss is now so complete that a sufferer may not recognize even his wife, speech is impaired and the patient is unable to communicate any coherent word. Along with this loss of the faculty of speech, other parts of the body and different systems in the body are also affected, for example along with neurological tissue loss there is also a loss in the ability to control important body functions such as that performed by the bladder, the patient in advanced stages is bewildered by all of these unfortunate events taking place all around him or her, and a desire for withdrawal from the outside world is often manifested in the patient becoming moody and irritability, all of these symptoms, are not to mention a huge emotional drain on the family and loved ones of the sufferer.

Research has still not been able to lead to a satisfactory explanation of the causes behind Alzheimer's, and there are currently two conflicting theories as to its causation and onset in the human body. The effects of Alzheimer's and the things that the disease does to neural tissue is however well documented. Human nerve cells need myelin or fatty tissue around them to conduct nerve impulses in a proper way. Alzheimer's leads to the specific decrease and reduction of this tissue, which in turn leads to the loss of nerve cells in the brain, especially in areas of the brain that controls memory and cognition-thus recall of old memories and a proper flow of intelligent thought becomes impossible. Alzheimer's may also be responsible for a rapid decrease in the chemicals like acetylcholine that are used in the conduction of nerve impulses. The disease leads to a loss and impaired functioning of these chemicals and conductance is affected leading to a case where brain function itself is seriously damaged. Of the many causes of dementia or memory loss, another contributory factor could be a decrease in blood flow within the brain which can produce a series of small strokes this may seriously affect memory retention in the brain. It is possible that Alzheimer's may also run within families and is passed or inherited within a blood line, thus people who have family member's already affected with Alzheimer's are probably at a greater risk or susceptibility from this disease. Other contributory factors for the onset of Alzheimer's are the incidence of a serious head injury, it could also possibly be linked to cardiovascular disease, and some research even suggest the participation of a slow-acting virus or a family of viruses that may impair brain function by attacking specific nerve tissue in the brain.

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Of other possible contributory factors studied earlier, some like the metal aluminum have been proven to be false, it was earlier suggested that aluminum from cooking vessels might be a possible factor-this has been conclusively disproved. There are however, studies that have also found a high level of aluminum in the nervous tissue of people afflicted with Alzheimer's. This has been found to be so in areas where compounds like aluminum sulfate is utilized for the filtration and purification of potable water. Some scientist still persist in trying to find a link between aluminum based compounds present in water used for consumption and the incidence of Alzheimer's.

Supplements and herbs

It is very unfortunate that there is still no known cure for Alzheimer's, and the disease is still treated only symptomatically. While the search for a possible remedy goes on in all earnestness, it is advisable to take a look at the alternative methods that can help at least in the alleviation of the symptoms of the early stages of Alzheimer's. There is however a plethora of alternative's in herb based and supplements that might at least minimize some of the effects of this dreadful affliction-these supplements may even restore to the individual at least some semblance of a normally functioning brain especially if used in the early stages. As preventive measure these herb based supplements are even more effective, if they are consumed as prophylactic substances, much before the disease has even started its progressive march through the neural tissue's of the concerned individual- these supplements must be used as preventative measures as early in life as possible. These supplements can be taken singly or in combinations of compounds and their effectiveness depends on the time periods over which they are taken. They will typically start effectively acting in a timeframe of about 8 weeks-if Alzheimer's is already present in any stage and has been detected.

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The all-purpose and proven herb ginkgo biloba is a promising supplement. Laboratory based tests and monitored trials have concluded that, blood circulation is definitely improved by ginkgo especially in the tissues of the brain, this leads to a possibility that memory at least in some test subjects can be improved by the administration of ginkgo as a supplement. It is therefore a highly relevant supplement in cases of memory impairment due to Alzheimer's. Another tantalizing prospect is it's proven antioxidant property, antioxidants are very effective compound in the maintenance of healthy nerve tissue, and these have serious benefits in potential ability of nerve repair. There are other compounds equally rich in antioxidants and they may prove to beneficial in memory retention in the long term, these include substances such as ascorbic acid or vitamin C, the vitamin tocopherol or vitamin E, many vitamin type compounds called carotenoids, and a chemical compound present in the body which also acts in nerve impulse conduction called coenzyme Q10. All these substances may be effective as supplements to bolster memory in individuals suffering from the effects of Alzheimer's.

There are other vitamins that need and deserve to have a look at for their antioxidant properties. The B-complex vitamins are very good prospects in this regard. It is a good idea to include these as supplements in the diet, both as preventive prophylactic supplements and even in therapeutic treatment. Decrease in the levels of B vitamins particularly of B12 and folate, has been observed in patients with advanced symptoms of Alzheimer's, thereby effectively linking lowered levels of these B complex with the incidence of the disease. It is therefore highly advisable to supplement these vitamin B complex type compounds in the dietary regimen, alongside a dose of the pyridoxine vitamin B6, which aids as a cofactor in nerve conduction. Other supplements like herbal essences of evening primrose oil can also be an effective aids against memory loss and the symptoms of Alzheimer's. The rare herbs like gotu kola and the Siberian ginseng are also good bets in the fight against the symptoms of Alzheimer's. All these herbs are proven effective agents against a declining memory, and it is a good possibility that they enhance nerve impulse transmission along the axons by improving nerve cell conductivity and influencing ionic balance within nerve cells. The internal chemical milieu of the brain is of importance in the nervous tissue's ability to maintain and store information some compounds can aid in the maintenance of these chemicals, one of which is the amino acid-like substance acetyl L-carnitine which can be taken after prescription from a qualified doctor in dosages of about 500 mg three times a day for effectiveness, the other substance is also an amino acid derivative called phosphatidylserine which has a similar function to the previous substance and is to be taken after consultation with a doctor in dosages of about 100 mg three times a day.

Additional things you may do

Read or practice memory exercises. Keep your mind active. Exercise helps improve mental abilities, even a short daily walk. Improve your memory and concentration by staying relaxed.

Usual dosage

  • Evening primrose oil, 1,000 mg three times daily. Can be replaced with 1,000 mg borage oil daily.
  • Ginkgo biloba, 80 mg three times daily. Standardized to have at least 24% flavone glycosides.
  • Siberian ginseng, 100-300 mg three times daily. Standardized to contain at least 0.8% eleutherosides.
  • Gotu kola, 400-500 mg crude herb or 200mg extract three times daily. Extract standardized to have 10% asiaticosides. May stimulate central nervous system and reduce depression and fatigue.
  • Vitamin B complex, 1 tablet, and extra 50 mg vitamin B6, daily with food. Look for a B-100 complex with 100 mcg vitamin B12 and biotin; 400 mcg folic acid; and 100 mg all other B vitamins.
  • Antioxidants, 400 IU vitamin E, 2,000 mg vitamin C, and mixed carotenoids providing 25,000 IU vitamin A activity daily.
  • Coenzyme Q10, 100 mg two times daily. Take it with food for best absorption.

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Comments

From Mary Kings - Apr-04-2015
Yes, ginkgo biloba is fantastic to stop the process of memory loss. But the doses have to be much higher than mentioned. I take 240 mg twice a day!!! You should start with a lower doses because your stomach might react to it. I started of slowly for the first week and increased the doses more and more. I just can tell from myself that it really does work. It not only stopped the degeneration but I did get my memory back. Luckily there are huge studies all over the world working with ginkgo biloba. Increased blood flow to the brain cells is the prime reason ginkgo is so successful in treating mental decline. Don't expect to see any improvements soon after taken the ginkgo. I just noticed may be after 2 month or more that there was a slight improvement. I recommend to everyone who realises that there memory is not the same anymore to start immediately with ginkgo. That will stop the whole process of mental decline. In Germany Alzheimer sufferer get treated successfully with ginkgo, but much higher doses than mention here in the article. I think it is also very important to keep your brain active. About 2 years ago I started playing Lumosity on the net. I do it every day. Try it, you will see that you get better in memorizing things. If I don't take the ginkgo herb I also take the homeopathic version. I don't really know which one works better.
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