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Article Archive >> Featured Topics

Alternative Approaches: Alzheimer's...Keeping Your Mind Healthy

Alternative Approaches
Alzheimer's...Keeping Your Mind Healthy
by Jennifer LB Leese

Alzheimers (AD) is a progressive degenerative disease characterized by mental deterioration of nerve terminals in the brain. More specifically, neurofibrils (tiny conductive pathways) become tangled, resulting in incorrect messages being transmitted. When this occurs, it affects a person's memory. Symptoms include memory loss, severe mood swings, personality changes, and inability to concentrate or communicate.
Ongoing scientific research reveals that the brains of Alzheimer patients contain abnormally high levels of aluminum. Dr. Daniel Perl was one of the first to discover aluminum in the brains of Alzheimer's patients; and in 1985, he connected high levels of aluminum in drinking water with different forms of senile dementia, including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disorders.
Scientists do not yet fully understand what causes AD. There probably is not one single cause, but several factors that affect each person differently. Age is the most important known risk factor for AD. The number of people with the disease doubles every 5 years beyond age 65.
Family history is another risk factor. Scientists believe that genetics may play a role in many AD cases. There's much to be learned.
Alternative Actions
When people think about staying fit, they generally think from the neck down. But the health of your brain plays a critical role in almost everything you do: thinking, feeling, remembering, working, and playing--even sleeping.
Stay Mentally Active
Mentally stimulating activities strengthen brain cells and the connections between them, and may even create new nerve cells.
Remain Socially Involved
Social activity not only makes physical and mental activity more enjoyable, it can reduce stress levels, which helps maintain healthy connections among brain cells.
Stay Physically Active
Physical exercise is essential for maintaining good blood flow to the brain as well as to encourage new brain cells. It also can significantly reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke and diabetes, and thereby protect against those risk factors for Alzheimer's and other dementias.
Adopt a Brain-Healthy Diet
Research suggests that high cholesterol may contribute to stroke and brain cell damage. A low fat, low cholesterol diet is advisable. And there is growing evidence that a diet rich in dark vegetables and fruits, which contain antioxidants, may help protect brain cells.
Meditation, Yoga, & Mudras (hand gestures)
It is believed that the combination of mudras, or hand gestures, and yoga can help slow the progression process of Alzheimer's and can sometimes even stop it in its earlier stages. In later stages, meditative activities can help improve the activities of daily living.
Massage
Massage can be therapeutic for a number of health conditions, and a great deal of research has documented its benefits in general health. Fewer studies have investigated its usefulness in Alzheimer's, but there is some evidence that massage therapy may reduce behaviors such as wandering, aggression and agitation.
Herbal treatment was designed to prompt mental recovery, slow disease progression, prevent and treat later disease, improve the prognosis, and most importantly, build function.
There are two natural treatments for Alzheimer's disease with significant scientific evidence behind them: Ginkgo and phosphatidylserine. There is growing evidence that Ginkgo and possibly phosphatidylserine might be helpful for normal age-related memory loss as well.
Herbal Remedies
Ginkgo Biloba
Chinese herbalists have recommended this herb for coughs, asthma and allergies. Ginkgo exerts a positive effect on the body's vascular system (including the blood vessels that delivers blood and oxygen to various organ systems).
This herb also helps prevent blood clots and can treat hearing and vision problems, dizziness, senility, heart and kidney ailments, and depression among other things.
Kelp
Kelp is a sea vegetable high in mineral content, especially iodine and potassium. This vegetable can help increase thyroid function and prevent absorption of radiation and heavy metals. It is beneficial for sensory nerves, the brain, spinal tissues and membranes. Kelp can also treat hair loss, ulcers, arteries, and nails. Kelp should be used in small amounts if one has high blood pressure or if one is sensitive to salt.
Rosemary
Rosemary is often thought of as a herb we use when cooking. The effects of it as a herbal remedy are interesting. Rosemary works by stimulating the brain. Keeping the brain stimulated is essential in making certain that memory is working correctly. There are different ways of preparing rosemary and checking the dosage and strength is always recommended.
Green Tea
Many of the natural remedies that offer benefits in memory function work toward other health goals as well. An example of this is green tea. Green tea is becoming a natural cure for many ailments or conditions. It's thought to have a positive effect on memory function and along with black tea when consumed in moderation seems to help in optimizing a person's ability to remember.
Huperzine A
This substance is created in a lab from a type of moss, but it's sold over the counter as a dietary supplement. Studies indicate that it improves memory in all types of people, including Alzheimer's patients.
Vinpocetine
Another chemical that is created from plant-life, this substance has also performed well in studies. It has been hypothesized that vinpocetine works by increasing blood flow to the brain and safeguarding brain cells against damage caused by lack of oxygen.
Recipes
Apple Cider Vinegar Cocktail
Combine 2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar and 1 tsp Honey to 2 oz of warm water or apple juice. Drink twice a day.
Brain Cocktail
Mix 1 TB Lecithin, 1 raw organic egg yolk blended with 2 oz apple juice daily.
Kelp Energy Bars
You Will Need:
1/2 oz of kelp fronds
2 cups of almonds
Hazelnuts
Sesame seeds
1/2 cup of maple (or birch) syrup
Directions
_ The first step is to powder the kelp fronds in a blender. Then add your nuts or seeds and grind them together with the kelp. You'll end up with a nicely mixed, coarsely ground blend, which you then pour into a bowl.
_ Next, add the syrup and stir it into the nut mixture.
_ Spread the mixture onto an oiled cookie sheet, pressing it out until it is about 1/4" thick.
_ Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes. Cut into squares while still slightly warm.
_ Cool completely.
Rooibos Chai Float
Brew 1 cup of Rooibos Chai. Cool. Then top with 1 generous scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Rosemary Hair Rinse
You can make an apple cider rinse by steeping about half a cup of freshly bruised rosemary leaves in 3 cups apple cider vinegar for two weeks. Add about a third of a cup to your final rinse.
Stick to the dose specified in the studies or on the product label. Tell your physician about any herbs you plan on using, especially if you're pregnant or nursing, have a chronic medical condition or take medication regularly. The purpose of herbal treatment is not to take the place of necessary orthodox medical treatment.

Source: Alzheimer's Association, The Alzheimer's Information Site, Alzheimer's Foundation, National Institute on Aging, and Journal of Alzheimer's Disease

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