As the saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. That can easily be applied to the recent increase of corporations offering alternative supplements, dietary programs, and herbal concoctions in order to treat, or at the very least lessen, the ramifications of Alzheimer’s disease. The Alzheimer’s Association aims to alert us, however, to go forward with careful attention when investigating treatment options for a loved one with dementia – and always obtain the health care provider’s approval prior to trying anything new.
A number of the latest trends in treating the disease, which are outside the FDA’s research and approval and are also centered on individual reviews as opposed to fact-based science, include ginkgo biloba, coral calcium, coconut oil, huperzine A and CoQ10 – an antioxidant produced naturally but in declining amounts as we grow older. In particular, the Alzheimer’s Association reports their concerns about these and other popular alternative treatments:
- Ginkgo biloba: Clinical trials of thousands of adults over age 75 have shown no statistical distinction between those taking this plant extract and people taking a placebo.
- Coral calcium: Coral calcium has been shown to supply no substantial health benefits, and those 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 provide an alternative source of energy to brain cells in place of reduced glucose levels in people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Association cautions that while there may be benefit, no clinical testing or scientific evidence is available.
- Huperzine A: Used as a conventional Chinese healing product, huperzine A is a moss extract available as an unregulated dietary supplement. A clinical trial was conducted by the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study that showed no benefit to huperzine A in Alzheimer’s patients, and that significant side effects might result when taken in combination with other Alzheimer’s treatments.
- CoQ10: While CoQ10 is a naturally-occurring antioxidant within the body, it has not been researched for its usefulness in managing Alzheimer’s disease, and also could result in harm to the older adult if taken in large quantities.
The bottom line? Consult with your senior loved one’s doctor about treatment options for Alzheimer’s and follow his / her instructions carefully. For additional details on safe and effective Alzheimer’s care, delivered in the convenience of home, get in touch with Generations at Home’s specialized dementia care team. Our care staff is fully trained and experienced in highly skilled, patient and compassionate Alzheimer’s and dementia care, allowing seniors to maintain the best possible quality of life, safety, independence and respect. Give us a call today at 727-940-3414 or contact us online for a free in-home assessment to find out more.