Alzheimer’s Disease

Also indexed as:Dementia (Senile), Senile Dementia
Scientific studies reveal promising results for preventing and treating this memory-robbing disease. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful.
Supplement Amount Why
Acetyl-L-Carnitine
1 gram taken three times per day 2 stars [2 stars]
Short-term studies have found that people with Alzheimer’s disease who supplement with acetyl-L-carnitine experience improved memory, enhanced overall performance, and delayed disease progression.
Ginkgo
120 to 240 mg of a standardized herbal extract daily 2 stars [2 stars]
Ginkgo biloba extract is an approved treatment for early-stage Alzheimer’s disease in Europe. It is thought to improve memory and quality of life and slow early disease progression.
Huperzia
200 mcg of huperzine A twice per day 2 stars [2 stars]
Huperzine A, a substance found in the Chinese medicinal herb huperzia (Huperzia serrata), has been shown to improve memory and mental and behavioral function in people with dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.
Lemon Balm
60 drops per day of a 1:1 herbal tincture, standardized to contain at least 500 mcg per ml of citral 2 stars [2 stars]
Supplementing with an herbal extract of lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) has been shown to improve cognitive function and reduce agitation in people with Alzheimer's disease.
Periwinkle
Refer to label instructions 2 stars [2 stars]
Lesser periwinkle contains the alkaloid vincamine, which has shown some benefit to people with Alzheimer’s disease.
Sage
60 drops daily of a 1:1 tincture 2 stars [2 stars]
Sage appears to have an effect on acetylcholine, one of the chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) in the brain and supplementing with sage has resulted in a significant improvement in cognitive function.
Vitamin B1
3 grams daily 2 stars [2 stars]
Supplementing with vitamin B1 might slow Alzheimer’s disease progression in people whose vitamin B1–dependent enzymes have low activity.
Vitamin E
2,000 IU daily 2 stars [2 stars]
Antioxidant supplements such as vitamin E have been associated with lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease and improved brain function in middle-aged and older adults.
Asian Ginseng
4.5 grams per day for 12 weeks 1 star [1 star]
A preliminary trial suggests that taking Panax ginseng may significantly improve a measure of cognitive function in the short term, though long-term use has not been established.
Bacopa
Refer to label instructions 1 star [1 star]
Animal studies have found the Ayurvedic herb bacopa has constituents that enhance several aspects of mental function and learning ability.
Coenzyme Q10, Iron, and Vitamin B6
Refer to label instructions 1 star [1 star]
A combination of coenzyme Q10, iron (sodium ferrous citrate), and vitamin B6 may improve mental status in people with Alzheimer’s disease.
DHEA
Refer to label instructions 1 star [1 star]
People with Alzheimer’s disease may have low DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) levels, and supplementation may improve mental performance.
DMAE
Refer to label instructions 1 star [1 star]
DMAE (2-dimethylaminoethanol) may increase levels of a brain neurotransmitter, which may foster positive behavior changes in people with dementia.
Fish Oil
Refer to label instructions 1 star [1 star]
Fish oil may help slow the rate of cognitive decline in people with very mild impairment.
Folic Acid
Refer to label instructions 1 star [1 star]
Some researchers feel Alzheimer’s disease may be related to folic acid deficiency.
Lecithin (Phosphatidyl Choline)
Refer to label instructions 1 star [1 star]
Weak evidence suggests that moderate amounts of lecithin, a fat used by the body to build membranes that may be obtained through food sources, may slightly improve symptoms.
NADH
10 mg per day 1 star [1 star]
A small, preliminary trial showed that oral NADH improved mental function in people with Alzheimer’s disease.
Phosphatidylserine
Refer to label instructions 1 star [1 star]
There is some evidence that cow-derived PS (phosphatidylserine) has been shown to improve mental function and feelings of well-being in people with Alzheimer’s disease, though most research has not found benefit.
Turmeric
Refer to label instructions 1 star [1 star]
In case reports, three patients with Alzheimer's disease showed improvements in symptoms such as irritability, agitation, anxiety, and apathy after supplementing with turmeric.
Vitamin B12
Refer to label instructions 1 star [1 star]
Some researchers feel Alzheimer’s disease may be related to vitamin B12 deficiency.
  • Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
  • Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
  • For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by some in the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2015.