July 15, 2006 |
Alzheimer’s disease alternative medication using herbal supplements are
discussed about, especially for curcumin and Ginkgo biloba.
Curcumin is an inexpensive dietary supplement that offers powerful protection for aging brains. It has been used as a food additive for thousands of years in the East as the active ingredient in turmeric, or yellow curry spice.
Curcumin possibly prevents Alzheimer’s disease shown by animal tests done by Greg Cole, Professor of medicine and neurology at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. He studies the effect of Fish oil, DHA on Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers in this study fed mice a standard diet, or the same diet supplemented with a low dose (160 parts per million) or a high dose (5,000 parts per million) of curcumin for six months. After six months, brain biopsies were conducted to evaluate any changes in the architecture of the tissue. The results showed that, compared with mice fed the standard diet, those fed a low curcumin diet, had a reduction in two markers of inflammation in the brain. The low curcumin diet also decreased oxidative damage to brain cells and reduced the production of beta-amyloid (a protein deposited in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease). In fact, curcumin cleavages beta-amyloid in the brain.
While this animal test is promising, there is no research for humans. Then, it is not suggested that for humans curcumin will have the same effects as those in mice. However, curcumin is relatively free of side effects and appears to be safe without a number of toxic side effects. More research is needed to establish the effectiveness of curcumin in humans.
The most well established herbal supplement for Alzheimer’s disease is Ginkgo biloba. In Germany, Ginkgo biloba was approved. Numerous double-blind, placebo-controlled studies indicate that Ginkgo is effective for treating various forms of dementia. One of the largest was a U.S. trial that enrolled more than 300 participants with Alzheimer’s disease or non-Alzheimer’s dementia. Participants were given either 40 mg of Ginkgo biloba extract or placebo 3 times daily. The results showed significant improvements in the treated group.
Consequently, curcumin and Ginkgo biloba are now natural options and the most expected for Alzheimer’s disease medication by dietary herbal supplements, as there are no effective drugs approved by FDA for the Alzheimer’s disease.