Beware of These Red Flags in Alternative Supplements for Alzheimer’s

senior couple contemplating medications and supplementsAs the expression goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. That may very well pertain to the current increase of businesses offering alternative supplements, dietary plans, and herbal concoctions in order to treat, or at the very least decrease the ramifications of Alzheimer’s disease. The Alzheimer’s Association wants to alert us, however, to go forward with caution when looking into treatment options for a senior with dementia – and always attain the health care provider’s authorization before trying anything new.

A number of the latest trends in managing the condition, that are not in the FDA’s research and approval process and therefore are predicated on personal reviews in place of fact-based science, include ginkgo biloba, coral calcium, coconut oil, huperzine A and CoQ10 – an antioxidant produced naturally but in declining levels as we get older. In particular, the Alzheimer’s Association reports their concerns about these and other well-known alternative treatments:

  • Ginkgo biloba: Clinical trials of several thousand adults over age 75 have indicated no statistical distinction between those taking this plant extract and those taking a placebo.
  • Coral calcium: Coral calcium has been demonstrated to produce no considerable health benefits, and people promoting and distributing it as an end to Alzheimer’s are currently under investigation with formal complaints filed by both the FTC and FDA.
  • Coconut oil: Claims are that coconut oil may possibly provide an alternate source of energy to brain cells in place of reduced glucose levels in individuals with Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Association cautions that while there might be benefit, no clinical testing or scientific evidence is available.
  • Huperzine A: Used as a traditional Chinese healing product, huperzine A is a moss extract available as an unregulated health 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 serious side effects may result when taken in combination with other Alzheimer’s treatments.
  • CoQ10: While CoQ10 is a naturally-occurring antioxidant in the human body, it has not been investigated for its efficacy in managing Alzheimer’s disease, and actually could result in problems for the older adult if taken in large amounts.

The bottom line? Consult with your senior loved one’s physician about treatment options for Alzheimer’s and follow his/her instructions carefully. For more information on safe and effective Alzheimer’s care, available in the convenience of home, contact JFS Care. Our care staff are fully trained and knowledgeable in caring for someone with dementia, allowing seniors to maintain the best possible quality of life, safety, independence and respect.  Call us today at (213) 383-2273 for a free in-home assessment or to speak with our top Los Angeles, CA home care experts for more information.

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