Alzheimer’s and Dementia
There are many natural treatments that may help prevent and treat Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
Vitamins, Minerals and EFA’s for Alzheimer’s and Dementia
Healthy brain function requires several key nutrients:
- B vitamins. B vitamins are critical to normal nerve transmission. B12 is particularly important for healthy brain function and deficiency is common amongst elderly patients due to lower intake of B12 rich foods like eggs and meat and lower stomach acid or use of antacid medications, which impair B12 absorption.
- Essential Fatty Acids. These are the healthy fats that we have to get from our diet as our bodies can’t produce them. Fish and fish oils are a rich source of Omega 3 essential fatty acids, while Omega 6’s are high in corn, sunflower and soybean oils. Our diets tend to be too heavily weighted in Omega 6’s and much too low in Omega 3’s. As a result, we are more inclined to recommend supplementation with Omega 3 fatty acids.
- Magnesium. Vitamin B6 and Magnesium are required for the healthy production of neurotransmitters. These are the brain chemicals that regulate how our brains work. Neurotransmitters regulate moods like feeling happy, energetic, rewarded, calm and sleepy. Imbalances in them can create anxiety, depression, insomnia, and addiction.
- Active folic acid or L-5MTHF. This particular form of folic acid is used to help maintain normal levels of homocysteine. High levels of homocysteine are associated with increased risk for heart disease and Alzheimer’s.
Lifestyle Factors and Alzheimer’s and Dementia
Aside from these critical nutrients, lifestyle factors like physical activity and maintaining a healthy social life help maintain healthy cognitive function and prevent dementia. There’s also the “use it or lose it” factor. Learning new skills and facing intellectual challenges like sudoku or crossword puzzles helps to keep your brain sharp.
Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture
There is a multitude of research on the effectiveness of Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM on Alzheimer’s and dementia. Our naturopathic doctors and acupuncturist are experts in TCM and can help select the most appropriate herbal formulas based on your overall symptoms. Acupuncture has been shown to help reduce symptoms after 12 weeks of treatment.
Authored by By Dr. Pamela Frank, BSc, ND
Alzheimer’s and Dementia Natural Medicine Research
Vitamin B6 and B12:
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● At four months, Melissa officinalis extract produced a significantly better outcome on cognitive
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● H pylori peptide modulated 77 genes in human gastric cells, 65 of which are listed in the AlzBase
database and include hallmarks of AD (APP, APOE, PSEN1, PSEN2). A large fraction of genes
30/77 belong to the inflammation pathway
Traditional Chinese Medicine:
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● This study found that an increase in the number of midlife vascular risk factors (BMI >30, current
smoking, HTN, diabetes, and total cholesterol > 200 mg/dL) were associated with increase in
amyloid standardized uptake value ratios in PET, a measure indicating brightness of tissue in
brain area and amount of cellular activity in the area. This study is consistent with the theory of
cardiovascular disease role in the development of Alzheimer disease.
Korean Red Ginseng:
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● High-dose Korean red ginseng group (9 g/day) showed significant improvement on the ADAS and
CDR scale after 12 weeks of therapy compared to control; the improvement from baseline was
observed in the ginseng group but was not statistically significant.
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● Increases in homocysteine and holotranscobalamin both may be involved in the development of
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● ADAS-cog scores for the acupuncture group decreased at the 12-week follow up period, as well
as a difference in ADAS-cog scores at baseline to 12-week follow up period compared to the
donepezil hydrochloride group.
● Significant between-group differences detected
● Mean CIBIC-Plus values for the acupuncture group at end of the treatment period and after 12-week
follow up were lower than the donepezil hydrochloride group, significant differences between
● No significant differences between groups in scores of ADAS-ADL and NPI during the study period
● No treatment discontinuation for acupuncture group, but 9% discontinued treatment in the
Traditional Chinese Medicine:
Jiang Y, Gao H, Turdu G. Traditional Chinese medicinal herbs as potential AChE inhibitors for
anti-Alzheimer’s disease: a review. Bioorg Chem. 2017; 75:50-61.
● Herbs include Herba Epimedii, Coptis Chinensis Franch, Rhizoma Curcumae Longae, Green Tea,
Ganoderma, Panax Ginseng.
Kern J, Kern S, Blennow K, Zetterberg H, Waern M, Guo X, Borjesson-Hanson A, Skoog I, Ostling S.
Calcium supplementation and risk of dementia in women with cerebrovascular disease.
Neurology. 2016; 87(16):1674-1680.
● This study found that calcium supplementation posed increased risk for developing dementia
and subtype stroke-related dementia (vascular and mixed dementias) in women ages 70-92 with
a history of stroke, compared with those who were not taking calcium supplements
Shi X, Zheng Z, Li J, Xiao Z, Qi W, Zhang A, Wu Q, Fang Y. Curcumin inhibits Abeta-induced microglial
inflammatory responses in vitro: involvement of ERK1/2 and p38 signaling pathways. Neurosci
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● Over 18 months, hippocampal volume decreased by 3% in the high risk/low physical activity
group, but remained stable in the three remaining groups (high risk/high PA, low risk/low PA,
low risk/high PA)
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● Prolonged release melatonin added to standard therapy of acetylcholinesterase inhibitors with
or without memantine – results showed that the PRM group had significantly improved
cognitive performance compared to placebo, better sleep efficiency, particularly in those with
Chinese Herbal Medicine:
Wang ZY, Liu JG, Li H, Yang HM. Pharmacological effects of active components of Chinese herbal
medicine in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease: a review. Am J Chin Med. 2016;
Yang WT, Zheng XW, Chen S, Shan CS, Xu QC, Zhu JZ, Bao XY, Lin Y, Zheng GQ, Wang Y. Chinese herbal
medicine for Alzheimer’s disease: clinical evidence and possible mechanism of neurogenesis.
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