Alternative medicine and therapy has always been a background player in the health and wellness sphere. It has only recently gained more hype due to new discoveries and a general shift in social consciousness. Especially in the face of ailments such as Alzheimer’s disease, approaches outside of traditional medicine can become appealing to explore (instead of or in combination with the latter).
While the search for an Alzheimer’s disease cure continues, families are turning to alternative options for dementia prevention and treatment. As with any form of care, it is important to make educated decisions before diving right into a new practice. Before we list today’s most intriguing forms of alternative medicine, see below for our tips for consideration.
Should I try alternative medicine for dementia?
To decide if an alternative treatment or preventative method is worth pursuing for you or a loved one with dementia, take into account the following:
The existence and legitimacy of studies or research
Research and studies are often extensively performed in order to determine the success of an alternative medical practice. However, these tests – as well as the articles that interpret them – can be biased. Try to stick to thorough studies done recently on a large number of human subjects. Government, national advocacy organization (such as the Alzheimer’s Association), and university resources are typically quite trustworthy.
The potential interference with other treatments
As always, you should consult your doctor about introducing a new treatment for Alzheimer’s, especially if you or your elderly loved is already taking medication or undergoing a form of therapy. Even if an alternative method is holistic, the potential to interfere remains.
The likelihood of negative side effects
Along with studies done on the alternative form of treatment, there should already be some known side effects to consider. Make sure to do your research to find our that there are no known side effects that are too high of a risk for you or your loved one in particular. For example, if weight is already a struggle and weight fluctuation is listed as a side effect, it may be best to avoid the alternative medicine or therapy all together.
Alternative Medicine & Therapy for Treating Alzheimer’s & Dementia
Here’s what we know about alternative treatments being used today to treat Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementia.
Dietary Supplements & Herbal Medicines
Due to links between low levels of particular vitamins and the development of dementia, as well as links between certain diets and a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s, individuals are taking certain supplements to improve symptoms. Likely the most studied of alternative treatments for dementia, dietary supplements like omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, vitamin D, melatonin and curcumin have shown brain health improvement. Other herbal supplements like gingko biloba and coral calcium are also commonly used for dementia, though it’s unclear whether or not they’re successful.
Similar to herbal medicine, cannabinoids are all-natural compounds that can effect the body — particularly the brain and its functions. Found in cannabis plants and consumed orally via capsule or oil, two of hundreds of cannabinoids have been rigorously studied: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Non-psychoactive doses have shown positive impacts on the brain’s receptors and neurotransmitters, reducing the amyloid blockages that cause Alzheimer’s.
Sound Stimulation Therapy
A 2016 pilot study done on Alzheimer’s sufferers of various stages showed an increase of cognition, clarity, and alertness over 6 weeks of periodic sound stimulation. Patients were seated in a chair with built-in speakers and subjected to 40Hz sounds. While the sample size was small, the results were promising enough to keep exploring. You can carry our 40Hz sound therapy at home or participate in a similar