Boston, MA (PRWEB) July 01, 2012
The Doctors Health Press, a publisher of various natural health newsletters, books, and reports, including the popular online Doctors Health Press e-Bulletin, reports on a recent study showing the effects at ginkgo and acetyl-L-carnitine against Alzheimer’s disease.
As reported in Doctors Health Press e-Bulletin (http://www.doctorshealthpress.com/brain-function-articles/second-thoughts-about-gingko-biloba), acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR) is an amino acid that occurs naturally. In animal studies, it’s been found to increase energy production in nerve cells, protect nerve cells from toxins, maintain the number of receptors on nerve cells, and increase the availability of acetylcholine. Over the last 30 years, there have been many studies on the effects of ALCAR on memory in dementia patients
The Doctors Health Press e-Bulletin article reports that the results have been mixed. In a meta-analysis of 21 double-blind, placebo-controlled studies, 499 of mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s patients were given 1.5 to 3.0 grams of ALCAR a day versus placebo for three to 12 months. The results showed that ALCAR improved cognitive functions in patients with mild cognitive impairment and prevented cognitive deterioration. This effect was first noted in the third month of treatment.
A typical dose of ALCAR is 1,000 to 3,000 milligrams (mg) a day. The most common adverse effects include stomachache, nausea, and diarrhea. Though the meta-analysis showed beneficial effects, an equal number of studies failed to show any benefit. Earlier positive studies used only a small number of Alzheimer’s patients treated for a short period of time. As well, study design was fair to poor. Still, most studies clearly show that adults under 65 years old with mild dementia were the ones who benefited from ALCAR treatment. However, the article says better studies need to be conducted before the use of ALCAR in treating dementia could be fully recommended.
The Doctors Health Press e-Bulletin article also reports that in animal studies, ginkgo biloba increased blood flow to the brain. It has antioxidant properties to protect the brain cells from oxidative stress. The effects of ginkgo on cognitive functions of Alzheimer’s patients have been studied extensively. The results are mixed. In a meta-analysis of nine studies, 2,372 patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia were assigned to receive ginkgo or a placebo for 12 to 53 weeks. Those treated with the herb showed a significant improvement in their cognitive functions as compared to those on placebo. This herb was well tolerated.
Many studies fail to show a beneficial effect of ginkgo for dementia patients. There are several explanations. The effectiveness of ginkgo may depend on the sensitivity of the population studies. Or, it may depend on the severity of the dementia (mild to severe), or on the sensitivity of the instrument used to measure cognitive changes. It could also be due to the dosage used.
The article concludes that while both herbs are promising, the evidence is very much mixed.
(SOURCE: "Insomnia takes toll on tinnitus patients," Henry Ford Health System, April 19, 2012.)
Doctors Health Press e-Bulletin is a daily e-letter providing natural health news with a focus on natural healing through foods, herbs and other breakthrough health alternative treatments. For more information on Doctors Health Press, visit http://www.doctorshealthpress.com.
The Doctors Health Press believes in the healing properties of various superfoods, like pistachios, as well as the benefits of taking vitamins and supplements, Chinese herbal remedies and homeopathy. To see a video outlining the Doctors Health Press' views on homeopathic healing, visit http://www.doctorshealthpress.com/homeopathy.