July 13, 2018 by Dean Bellefeuille

elderly husband and wife contemplating medications and supplements

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 touting alternative supplements, dietary programs, and herbal concoctions as a way to cure, or at least lessen the outcomes of Alzheimer’s disease. The Alzheimer’s Association would like to alert us, however, to proceed with caution when exploring treatment ideas for a loved one with dementia – and always seek the doctor’s authorization prior to trying anything new.

A number of the latest trends in treating the condition, that are outside of the FDA’s research and approval process, and tend to be predicated on personal testimonials as opposed to fact-based science, include ginkgo biloba, coral calcium, coconut oil, huperzine A and CoQ10 – an antioxidant produced naturally but in decreasing amounts as we grow older. Specifically, the Alzheimer’s Association [S4] reports their concerns about these and other popular alternative treatments for dementia:

  • Ginkgo biloba: Clinical trials of thousands of adults over age 75 have shown no statistical difference between those taking this plant extract and those taking a placebo.
  • Coral calcium: Coral calcium has been demonstrated to deliver no identifiable health benefits, and people marketing and distributing it as relief from Alzheimer’s are presently under investigation with formal complaints filed by both the FTC and FDA.
  • Coconut oil: Promises are that coconut oil may provide an alternate source of energy to brain cells in the place of reduced glucose levels in people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Association cautions that while there might be advantages, 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 health supplement. A clinical trial was performed by the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study that demonstrated no benefit to huperzine A in Alzheimer’s patients, and that severe side effects may result when taken in combination with other Alzheimer’s treatments.
  • CoQ10: While CoQ10 is a naturally-occurring antioxidant in the body, it has not been researched for its usefulness in managing Alzheimer’s disease, and actually could result in problems for the senior if taken in large quantities.

The bottom line? Consult with your senior loved one’s personal physician about treatment options for Alzheimer’s and stick to his or her guidelines carefully. For additional details on effective and safe Alzheimer’s care, provided in the comfort of home, contact At Home Independent Living’s specialized dementia care Syracuse NY team. Our care staff are thoroughly trained and experienced in skilled and compassionate Alzheimer’s and dementia care, allowing seniors to keep the best possible quality of life, safety, independence and respect. Call us today at (315) 579-HOME (4663) for a free in-home consultation to find out more.