In my experience with patients, a thorough exam often finds that an older person with cognitive decline doesn't have dementia. And even if they do, natural treatments can often dramatically improve their memory, mental state and everyday functioning.
Bottom line: if you or a family member has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease, there's a good chance the correct diagnosis is not Alzheimer's. By getting a proper evaluation and the right treatment, many if not most people can be restored to healthy brain function.
Those treatments include:
Get vitamin B12 injections. A series of 15 shots over three months, if your B12 level is under 540 picograms per deciliter. Each shot should contain 1,000 to 5,000 micrograms of B12. If your B12 level is under 340, you should receive shots monthly for the rest of your life.
Increase fish oil. Eat three to four servings a week of fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, herring or sardines, which supply DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Without enough DHA, your brain can't function normally. Or take daily omega-3 supplements.
Treat hormonal deficiencies. If you have a diagnosis of Alzheimer's or dementia, I would consider treating hormonal deficiencies even if your blood tests for those hormones are "normal." You'll need to work with a holistic practitioner or a compounding pharmacy. Consider three months of natural thyroid hormone. Men should consider testosterone. Â
Take baby aspirin. What is often labeled Alzheimer's disease by a primary care physician is vascular dementia, produced by a series of ministrokes (transient ischemic attacks, or TIAs). Suspect vascular dementia if the mental decline dropped rapidly in discrete steps, rather than gradually. A baby aspirin a day can improve circulation, decrease the risk of further strokes and improve brain function. Use an enteric-coated brand to protect your stomach.
Sleep more. Sleep protects and restores brain function, and studies show that people with poor sleep have four times the risk of developing dementia. For those diagnosed with dementia, I recommend a bedtime dose of 3 to 5 milligrams of melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone.
Double-check your meds. It's amazing how many people with "Alzheimer's" recover normal mental function when they are weaned off unnecessary medications. Ask your doctor if he or she is willing to work with you to find out if any (or many) of your medications are contributing to the confusion. The best approach, if it's safe: Your doctor tapers you off your medications, slowly reducing their dosages to see if the lower dose provides relief from any memory loss or mental difficulties.
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