Orange County Alzheimer’s Care Advice: Should You Try Alternative Treatments?

Senior couple looking at medicine bottles.

Should you try Alternative Treatments for Alzheimer’s?

As the expression goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. That may easily pertain to the current influx of businesses touting alternative supplements, dietary programs, and herbal concoctions in an effort to cure, or at least lessen the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. The Alzheimer’s Association would like to alert us, however, to go forward with extreme caution when exploring treatment options for a loved one with dementia – and always seek the health care provider’s approval prior to trying anything new.

A few of the latest trends in managing the condition, which are not in the FDA’s research and approval process, and tend to be predicated on personal reviews rather than fact-based science, include ginkgo biloba, coral calcium, coconut oil, huperzine A and CoQ10 – an antioxidant produced naturally but in declining levels as we grow older. Specifically, the Alzheimer’s Association reports their concerns about these and other popular Alzheimer’s alternative treatments:

  • Ginkgo biloba: Clinical trials of thousands of adults over age 75 have indicated no statistical difference between those taking this plant extract and those taking a placebo.
  • Coral calcium: Coral calcium has been shown to supply no significant health benefits, and people promoting and distributing it as a cure for Alzheimer’s are currently under investigation with formal complaints filed by both the FTC and FDA.
  • Coconut oil: Promises are that coconut oil may possibly provide an alternate energy source to brain cells in place of reduced glucose levels in those with Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Association cautions that while there may be advantages, no clinical testing or scientific evidence is available.
  • Huperzine A: Used as a conventional Chinese recovery product, huperzine A is a moss extract obtainable as an unregulated health supplement. A clinical trial was performed by the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study that showed no benefit to huperzine A in Alzheimer’s patients, and that serious side effects might occur when taken in combination with other Alzheimer’s treatments.
  • CoQ10: While CoQ10 is a naturally-occurring antioxidant within the body, this has not been researched for its effectiveness in managing Alzheimer’s disease, and actually could cause harm to the senior if taken in large quantities.
  • Tumeric: A spice belonging to the ginger family, tumeric played a significant role in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years.  Turmeric may be able to reduce inflammation, beta-amyloid plaque buildup, and oxidative damage related to Alzheimer’s. Find out more about the research behind tumeric and dementia here.

The conclusion? Talk to your senior loved one’s medical professional about treatment plans for Alzheimer’s and stick to his or her instructions carefully. For additional details on effective and safe Alzheimer’s care, provided in the comfort of home, get in touch with CareWorks Health Service’s professional dementia care team. Our care staff are thoroughly trained and experienced in highly skilled, patient and compassionate Alzheimer’s and dementia care, allowing seniors to keep the highest possible quality of life, safety, independence and respect. Give us a call at (949) 859-4700 or contact us online for a complimentary in-home consultation to find out more.