Skip to comments.Two ayurvedic drugs hold out hope for Alzheimer’s patients
Posted on 04/01/2013 11:21:25 PM PDT by Jyotishi
New Delhi - It's a disease long associated with the elderly but is now diagnosed in younger people as well and with no permanent cure available till date.
However, in what could give hope to thousands suffering from Alzheimer's Disease (AD), the pharmacology department in AIIMS has identified Ayurvedic drugs which could have a role in preventing the onset of AD and also restricting its spread in affected patients.
AD is a degenerative neurological disorder leading to progressive loss of cognitive abilities, including the patient's memory due to a drop in chemicals known as neurotransmitters which transmits messages between brain cells.
The latest of these studies has been published in international journal Neurochemistry International, where symptoms of Alzheimer's were induced in rats by injecting them with a chemical, streptozotocin, which replicates the clinical symptoms of the disease.
When these rats were treated with the herb Shankpushapi or Evolvulus alsinoides, the cognitive functions of rats improved.
Joginder Mehla, who has been following therapeutic options for AD as part of his PhD project, said the rats showed functional improvement in areas like memory, aggression, mood swings, ability to think and take decisions, and lack of confusion.
Last year, the institute was also able to establish similar therapeutic effects of another Ayurvedic drug Aparajita or Clitoria ternatea.
In Alzheimer's patients, there is a cascade of biochemical changes in the brain triggered by the release of free radicals that destroy the neurons, by a vicious cycle of exciting amino acids and releasing calcium.
Dr Y K Gupta, HoD of the pharmacology and the corresponding author of the articles, said, "We found that the herbal drugs control the symptoms of AD in two ways. First, their antioxidant properties are able to control the release of free radicals that damage the brain cells. Secondly, these drugs also inhibit the activity of an enzyme that destroys Acetylcholine the chemical that acts as a neurotransmitter."
In normal people, the body naturally replenishes this neurotransmitter through a cyclic process, after the enzyme Acetylcholinesterase destroys it. In AD patients, this enzyme destroys the chemical much faster than it can be produced, leading to an unnatural loss of Acetylcholine, Dr Gupta said. Conventional chemical drugs can only supplement the neurotransmitter, but have little role in restricting the activity of the enzyme.
Male Wistar rats, weighing 250-300 grams, were divided into seven groups, including the control and experimental arms, and injected with the chemical streptozotocin to induce AD-like symptoms.
"While we were able to clinically replicate all symptoms of Alzheimer's, two changes which occur in the brain cannot be produced by this chemical. This includes the formation of plaques, or clusters of proteins, and Neurofibrillary Tangles the twisted strands of another protein in nerve cells," Dr Gupta said.
Doctors said in the long run, there was enough evidence to suggest that the herbal drugs, in isolation or as a supplement to conventional drugs, may help in managing AD as well as other memory disorders .
Thank you. There are a couple of interesting reviews at the site. An excerpt from one of them: “It’s criminal what the medical establishment is doing to seniors and the rest of society with their junk science, pill pushing poison greed. I am using only two of the natural supplements recommended on my 86 year old Mom who now shows remarkable improvement in her stage 2 vascular dementia....”
Thank you. A low carb diet was mentioned in the article about coconut oil news story also, though not necessarily recommended.
The successes using coconut oil to control Alzheimer’s, according to all I have read, requires a low carb diet. This all works because the combination of coconut oil and low carbs puts the body into ketosis. This allows the nuturing of the brain in such a way that it controls the disease.
Dr Newport puts the coconut oil in her husband’s oatmeal in the morning, but otherwise he is severely restricted on carbs. He gets the coconut oil dosing twice a day.
Similar use of coconut oil and carb restrictions has been used successfully to control/cure insulin resistance (diabetes).
Thanks for your explanation. This is the excerpt relating to carbs in the article:
“It isn’t just Steve Newport’s experience with coconut oil that intrigues his wife, however. Experiments in mice and small-scale trials in people have yielded encouraging evidence that medium chain triglycerides, the key ingredient in coconut oil, slow and even reverse the effects of Alzheimer’s.
“Alzheimer’s sufferers are believed to have trouble processing glucose sugar as essential fuel for the brain. But some researchers say MCT spurs development of ketones in the liver, which the brain can use as a rich alternative fuel source.
“Aside from ingesting MCT, most people generate significant quantities of ketones only when they are starving or when they are on an extremely low-carbohydrate diet like Atkins.”
The incidence of Alzheimer’s disease is increasing. Why? I think this has several ‘causes’.
One is the toxic environment, from many sources...drinking water, air pollutants, food supply (especially in packaged foods), vaccines, dental amalgams, even pharmaceuticals.
Another is the push to control cholesterol. The liver produces cholesterol because the body has to have it to live, and it is especially needed in the brain. The pharmaceutical industry has convinced doctors and the public that cholesterol is bad for us. Statin drugs are huge moneymakers for the drug companies. I contend the cholesterol is not a disease, nor is it connected to a disease, unless there is not enough of it.
There is a lot of evidence that statin drug use can cause dementia-like symptoms...read that ‘Alzheimer’s’. If used long enough, especially by persons who might be susceptible because of other likely factors (toxins) the incidence of Alzheimer’s is likely to increase to pandemic levels. We see that happening.
Mazz, your comments about proteolytic enzymes are also important for us to remember. Pancreatic enzymes acting proteolytically help rid the body of toxins. And the nattozimes that deal with fibrin along with serrapeptase from silk worms work to improve the blood supply to the brain and to improve blood circulation in general.
There is the third factor, which we have discussed here...diet. Our great American diet is carbs, carbs, carbs, low fat and varied consumption of meats. If minimizing carbs, adding medium chain fatty acids (MCT’s) from coconut oil, and enjoying meat helps control Alzheimer’s, why not for prevention too?
To summarize this, deal with toxins, stay away from statin drugs, and change the diet (remember that many of the natural things in diets linked to the absence of Alzheimer’s should be included in the diet). I suggest that this could begin the reversal in the incidence of Alzheimers disease.
Good post! I did not until recently that our brain is made up of mostly cholesterol! No wonder Alzheimer’s is more prevalent now with this hysteria about cholesterol.
The issue of low fat foods is also huge. Obesity in America exploded the moment “low fat” foods came into fashion. I know obesity is another issue altogether but low fat foods could indeed be a factor in Alzheimer’s.
There is one more reason why Americans are more prone to Alzheimer’s. Think of what has changed in last 70 years in USA. Automobiles became popular! You will notice a huge segment of older population does no regular exercise. It is akin to driving you car all the time at slow speeds. Sludge builds up in the fuel system. Human body evolved over million years plus. 99.9% of that time our ancestors spent chasing after food relentlessly. They were not farmers and staying in one place. Nomadic life was the norm. So our bodies need exercise. That strengthens your arteries and keeps better blood flow to the brain, kidneys and liver.
Perhaps, but India has one of the lowest Alzheimer's rates in the world and they're thinking the turmeric/curry thing, which has been shown to bust up the plaques that are part of Alzheimer's, may be the reason.
The cholesterol myth is one of the biggest frauds and only to perpetuate the need for statins. The ongoing Framingham study has, consistently paid no mind by the powers that be.
In fact, a very large nursing study concluded that low levels of vitamin E in the blood is a better indicator of cardiovascular disease than high levels of cholesterol. It is more than shameful that the RDI has not been updated for over 50 years. Vitamin C and E has only been minimally increased. There has been also studies that have concluded that college students have been showing signs of scurvy, which may be the missing link in the pathology of cardiovascular disease that has been, suspiciously ignored.
Sadly, I believe statins are just a tool to create more disease, which results in the need for more drugs. It is, basically the same reason complex carb consumption and a low fat diet is strongly recommended.
In conclusion, I firmly believe systemic enzymes of both a plant and animal source is a novel way to protect us from the consequences of believing in misguided notions and inferior behavior. Proper food and proper nutritional support, along with prudent exercise is the least expensive and most viable method in preventing disease.
I am an Ayurvedic herbalist and I have seen excellent results in my small way with Ayurvedic herbs. I use Shankpushpi a lot but never used Aparajta. I will look into it, it’s harder to get.
Thanks for the ping. I searched FR for curcumin, one of the main active ingredients in turmeric and found many threads dealing with Alzheimer’s, cancer and other conditions here:
I found a few Ayurvedic shops that sell Aparajita online but they do not appear to be in the U.S.
Viewing food in and of itself as medicine, as the Ayurvedic system dictates, does have benefit over the course of ones life. In our country and in the west in general, health concerns such as Alzheimers typically aren't much of a concern until individuals actually begin approaching the age of onset. Starting to ingest beneficial natural substances such as this at that point is of limited benefit, so larger dosages have been investigated in clinical trials, actually showing some promise. But achieving these higher dosages has been something of a challenge. This is what I was attempting to communicate in my original reply.
Prior to the economic crash in 2008, I did some catalog and website work for a well-known Ayurvedic company that produces nutraceuticals following Ayurvedic principals. I've studied countless clinical trials in order to understand their products well enough to write compelling sales copy that was not just truthful but clinically sound. This can be a challenge because of FDA regulations, and so I was limited to structure/function statements. I did, however, try a number of these nutraceuticals myself, and did find them useful and beneficial, speaking only for myself.
The joint health and the male-specific herbal preparations were to me especially impressive. But, men would have to be careful because the male-specific nutraceutical actually lowered PSA levels quite a bit. There was some controversy, that this might somehow mask prostate cancer, rather than being preventative. That Controversy may well have been resolved by now.
If you come across something that you believe is actually preventative or slowing regarding Alzheimer’s I’d appreciate it if you’d ping me. My mother has it and my father’s sister had it.
Curcuminoids, it does work in my opinion based upon what I’ve read and studied. It’s just hard to get enough of it into their system. My knowledge is four going on five years old. Patches stained skin yellow. Sublingual, meaning a liquid placed under the tongue for absorption, seemed more promising but still wasn’t completely practical at the time. Could be by now though. I’ll do a quick search to see what’s what as of now.
So-called liposomal curcumin appears to be a sort of caveat emptor situation, as there are a number of companies claiming to offer it and that their product uniquely enhances bioavailability. Liposomal curcuminoids, the genuine article from clinical trials, was patented by UCLA researchers and I do not see that it is readily available at present. That doesn't mean that it isn't, just that I didn't see it.
As far as how much, I'm not able or willing to make that recommendation. Curcumin taken as a supplement is usually regarded as dose to tolerance since toxicity has not been noted and digestive distress/diarrhea is the worst thing to expect from a large dose that I'm aware, but again please research this and validate for yourself.
There are potential conditions that can be aggravated by it though, gallstones, etc. but the most notable thing to watch out for and to avoid is drug interactions, it's right up there with grapefruit for that sort if thing.
As far as reliable sources of information found online, I'd rely on clinical trials, PubMed and the like. There are also several patent applications with useful information, but the majority deal specifically with increasing bioavailability with treatment of various forms of cancer as the objective. All of these will involve slogging through a lot of jargon with which you'll need to become at least somewhat familiar, or find a knowledgeable person who is familiar and is willing to help you out.
Piperine is another thing that has been shown to increase bioavailability and absorption of curcuminoids but I've seen nothing dealing with this in combination with DHA.
Please use your best judgment, don't take anybody’s word as gospel until you've researched and verified and proceed carefully if you do decide to take this further. Discuss it with a doctor before you do. Some are favorable and sympathetic, others aren't.
DH has been taking tumeric capsules for arthritis,says it has really helped.
Thank you. Was wondering if that was the case.
I’ll contact my suppliers and ask why they don’t carry it. I never looked into it much although I’ve read the name, since I don’t have access to it.
I use Shankpushpi in formulas for calming and balancing the mind and mental focus. It’s really a useful herb.
It’s a great natural anti-inflammatory. Has he found that there are any side effects for him? How much does he supplement for this purpose? What brand and whether it’s liquid gelcap or some other method would be useful, too.
I found supplementing with it made me feel slightly warm, a pleasant warmth. It did help me with joint pain. I don’t remember the actual brand name but it was called Turmeric Supreme, Ultimate or similar, liquid in organic gelcaps, I chose it because it was made in my home state, NC. Up in the mountains. Brevard maybe?