A couple weeks ago, I wrote about a game changer peptide called Cerebrolysin, which protects neurons from free radical stress, improves metabolic activity of neurons, and is having massive impact on neurodegenerative diseases, stroke patients, and traumatic brain injuries. Beyond lifestyle changes and injectable Cerebrolysin, herbs and nutritional supplements offer much support in many degenerative neurological conditions. Many of these can safely be taken by everyone today. These include:
- Adaptogenic herbal combinations. These herbs confer neuron protection, thus combating the effects of years of exposure to stress hormones, chemical toxins, heavy metals, and high glucose levels. They also improve energy transfer in the brain by increasing mitochondrial health, ATP production, and optimizing the utilization of healthy fats, proteins, and sugars. They are antioxidative, meaning that they reduce free radical damage to neurons. They are also anti-inflammatory and help prevent blood clots, which can be important in patients with a history of TIA or stroke. Many adaptogens possess anti-inflammatory effects, which could help control both the inflammatory response to plaques as well as the number of plaques, and delay the onset of Alzheimer’s by about a decade.
- Green and even black tea. These teas may help improve memory and could be useful in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) is a major antioxidant in green tea that has been widely studied for its reported protection against certain cancers. Now, there is also evidence that EGCG decreases production of the protein beta-amyloid, which is related to Alzheimer’s and can accumulate abnormally in the brain, leading to nerve damage and memory loss.
- Ginkgo biloba. The therapeutic efficacy of Ginkgo biloba extracts in Alzheimer’s disease in placebo controlled clinical trials is reportedly similar to currently prescribed drugs, such as tacrine or donepezil and, importantly, undesirable side effects of Gingko are minimal. Ginkgo also inhibits stroke, increases the cerebral blood and oxygen flow, and possess anticancer, antioxidative and anti-depressive activity.
- Bacopa. This plant has been shown to modulate stress hormones released from the brain. Bacopa appears to affect the CNS by stimulation of gaba-aminobutyric (GABA) and cholinergic systems. This has a calming effect on the brain as well as an increased ability to concentrate and retain information. In India, the yogi’s often would drink bacopa tea while meditating, in order to relax their brain and enter into a deeper relaxed state of consciousness.
- Gotu kola. Gotu kola (Centella asiatica), has a considerable reputation in the Indian system of medicine. It is a rasayan (general tonic), brain tonic, improves memory, and strengthens the Central Nervous System. Increased brain levels of GABA confers a relaxing effect on the nervous system. Gotu kola improves memory and inhibits the uptake of glutamate by the brain, which is a known causative factor in dementia.
- Old European reference books, such as those on medicinal herbs, document a variety of other plants such as Salvia officinalis (sage) and Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) with memory-improving properties.
Vital Nutrients for Neurological Health
- DHA. Boosting levels of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in the blood and eating about three (low mercury) fish meals each week, and/or supplementing the diet with a DHA/EPA rich fish oil, such as Complete Omega Essentials by Natura Health Products, can almost halve the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in elderly men and women. There have been many reports regarding the pharmacological functions and the mechanisms of DHA and EPA. Also, in the past few years, it has become possible to produce ingestible DHA and EPA oils, oils for chemical compounds, oils for animal feed, and highly purified DHA and EPA for medical and pharmaceutical use.
- Vitamin B 12 and Folate. There is a relationship between elevated homocysteine, folate, vitamin B12 and severity of cognitive impairment in patients with Alzheimer’s disease as compared with other disorders associated with cognitive impairment. A number of studies have shown that raised homocysteine concentrations may contribute to cognitive impairment. It is also known that elevations in blood levels of homocysteine, an amino acid, result from inadequate folate, vitamin B12, or vitamin B6 intake. A new study, found that folate was independently protective against a decline in memory and also protected against a decline in verbal fluency. In another study, the link with homocysteine concentration and decline in cognition was also demonstrated.
- Phosphatidylserine. Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a phospholipid that promotes membrane fluidity and activates better glucose metabolism by the brain. In clinical studies, PS has shown to improve learning ability and other memory related tasks. PS also reduces cortisol levels and is readily absorbed through the blood-brain barrier. There are no reported side effects or contraindications.
- Acetyl L-Carnitine. A 1995 study of acetyl l-carnitine provided the first demonstration that any drug or supplement could bring about both clinical and neurochemical improvements in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Patients given acetyl l-carnitine (3g/day for 1 year) fared significantly better than control patients on both the ADAS (Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale) and MMS (Mini-Mental Status) rating scales. The researchers used magnetic resonance spectroscopy to measure neurochemical activity in the patients’ brains. They found that acetyl l-carnitine normalized the levels of key neurochemicals involved in neural membrane function and energy metabolism (high-energy phosphates and phosphomonoesters).
- Glutathione. Glutathione is important for maintaining neurological health and for the inhibition of Alzheimer’s with glycine powder, NAC, and glutamine, your body can synthesize glutathione in the liver.
- NADH. This is a coenzyme that plays a key role in cellular energy production and stimulates dopamine production. A study was designed to evaluate the effect of stabilized oral reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) on cognitive functioning in patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In previous trials, NADH has been shown to improve cognitive functioning in patients with Parkinson’s disease, depression, and AD. The present trial showed that after 6 months of treatment, subjects treated with NADH showed no evidence of progressive cognitive deterioration and had significantly higher total scores on the MDRS (Mattis Dementia Rating Scale) compared with subjects treated with placebo.
- CoQ10. This coenzyme has shown to improve learning and memory deficits by inhibiting the oxidative stress and improving levels of ATP.
What about toxins?
The combination of fluoride and aluminum is associated with Alzheimer’s Disease. Aluminum by itself is not readily absorbed by the body. But, in the presence of fluoride ions, the fluoride ions combine with aluminum to form aluminum fluoride, which is absorbed by the body. In such a scenario, aluminum can combine with oxygen to form aluminum oxide, a highly oxidative byproduct, which can cause Alzheimer’s disease.
Phenolic compounds found in companion adaptogens, lipoic acid, and sulfur containing amino acids, such as cysteine in undenatured whey protein concentrate, are effective scavengers of heavy metals and of heavy-metal induced oxidative injury. Also, Modified Citrus Pectin can help gradually decrease heavy metal buildups in the body.
A Final Note
As you can see, a well-rounded program is essential for the prevention and treatment of memory and cognitive impairments, and Alzheimer’s Disease.
It is the synergistic effects of combining the adaptogenic herbal formulations with highly advanced nutritional compounds, as well as peptides like Cerebrolysin, that makes for effective therapeutic programs in people with neurodegenerative disorders.
If I have one concern in writing this and the previous article, it is that most readers will jump to the injectable treatment and ignore or only sporadically do the supplement therapies and lifestyle changes suggested herein. Also, many people get overwhelmed with supplements, or are advised by the often mis-informed medical authorities not to waste their money on supplements. This is very sad. If you can, begin an oral program of selected herbs and nutrients like those described above, and add in the injectable Cerebrolysin with the lifestyle changes suggested.
By Robert Zieve, M.D.
Dr. Zieve is now accepting as patients, people with memory or cognitive impairment, including Alzheimer’s Disease.
A Note of Gratitude I give my deep thanks to Donnie Yance, nationally known herbalist and nutritionist, for publishing much of the material that is included about herbs and nutrients here.