July 11, 2018

Senior couple looking at prescriptions

Experts are warning against several “alternative treatments”.

As the saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. That can easily be applied to the latest increase of businesses offering alternative supplements, dietary programs, and herbal concoctions as a way to treat, or at the very least lessen, the outcomes of Alzheimer’s disease. The Alzheimer’s Association aims to advise us, however, to go forward with caution when investigating treatment ideas for a senior loved one with dementia – and always obtain the health care provider’s authorization before trying anything new.

A few of the recent trends in treating the condition, which are not in the FDA’s research and approval process and are 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 decreasing amounts as we grow older. Specifically, the Alzheimer’s Association reports their concerns about these and other popular alternative treatments:

  • Ginkgo biloba: Clinical trials of several thousand adults over age 75 have found no statistical distinction between those receiving this plant extract and those taking a placebo.
  • Coral calcium: Coral calcium has been demonstrated to produce no substantial health benefits, and people marketing and distributing it as relief from 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 alternate 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 might be advantages, no clinical testing or scientific evidence is available.
  • Huperzine A: Used as a traditional Chinese recovery product, huperzine A is a moss extract obtainable as an unregulated dietary 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 could occur when taken in combination along with other Alzheimer’s treatments.
  • CoQ10: While CoQ10 is a naturally-occurring antioxidant in the body, this has not been investigated for its effectiveness in treating Alzheimer’s disease, and also could result in harm to the senior if ingested in large quantities.

The bottom line? Consult 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 safe and effective Alzheimer’s care provided in the convenience of home, contact Continuum’s professional dementia care team. Our care staff, providers of the highest rated senior home care St. Louis has to offer, are experienced in highly skilled, patient and compassionate Alzheimer’s and dementia care, allowing seniors to maintain the highest possible quality of life, safety, independence and respect. Give us a call at (314) 863-9912 or contact us online for a free of charge in-home assessment to find out more.