WHAT IS ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE?

Alzheimer’s Disease is a progressive mental deterioration that can occur in middle or old age, due to generalized degeneration of the brain. It’s characterized by memory loss, confusion, and problems communicating. About one in ten people over 65, and one in three people over 85 have Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s is more common in women than men

Hemp CBD

 Studies point to CBD as having great promise as a defense against Alzheimer’s disease. In a 2006 study published in Molecular Pharmaceutics, a team of University of Connecticut researchers reported that cannabis “could be considerably better at suppressing the abnormal clumping of malformed proteins that is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease than any currently approved prescription.” The research team predicted that cannabinoid-based medications “will be the new breakout medicine treatments of the near future.” 

The potential of stimulating brain tissue was recently discovered as a potential benefit of CBD. In clinical trials, CBD has shown the ability to reverse and even prevent the development of Alzheimer’s negative impact. A 2011 study by Australian researchers Tim Karl and Carl Group found that CBD promotes the growth and development of brain cells, which were shown to reduce the decline of memory and other brain functions.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive phytocannabinoid that has demonstrated neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties in vitro. Thus, it is investigated as a potential multifunctional treatment option for AD. Here, we summarize the current status quo of in vivo effects of CBD in established pharmacological and transgenic animal models for AD. The studies demonstrate the ability of CBD to reduce reactive gliosis and the neuroinflammatory response as well as to promote neurogenesis. Importantly, CBD also reverses and prevents the development of cognitive deficits in AD rodent models. Interestingly, combination therapies of CBD and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main active ingredient of cannabis sativa, show that CBD can antagonize the psychoactive effects associated with THC and possibly mediate greater therapeutic benefits than either phytocannabinoid alone. The studies provide "proof of principle" that CBD and possibly CBD-THC combinations are valid candidates for novel AD therapies. Further investigations should address the long-term potential of CBD and evaluate mechanisms involved in the therapeutic effects described.

 

Ginkgo biloba

Ginkgo biloba is a natural medicine used for cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease. The objective of this review is to explore the effectiveness and safety of Ginkgo biloba in treating mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease.

METHODS: 

Electronic search was conducted from PubMed, Cochrane Library, and four major Chinese databases from their inception up to 1(st) December, 2014 for randomized clinical trials on Ginkgo biloba in treating mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer's disease. Meta-analyses were performed by RevMan 5.2 software.

RESULTS: 

21 trials with 2608 patients met the inclusion criteria. The general methodological quality of included trials was moderate to poor. Compared with conventional medicine alone, Ginkgo biboba in combination with conventional medicine was superior in improving Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores at 24 weeks for patients with Alzheimer's disease (MD 2.39, 95% CI 1.28 to 3.50, P<0.0001) and mild cognitive impairment (MD 1.90, 95% CI 1.41 to 2.39, P<0.00001), and Activity of Daily Living (ADL) scores at 24 weeks for Alzheimer's disease (MD -3.72, 95% CI -5.68 to -1.76, P=0.0002). When compared with placebo or conventional medicine in individual trials, Ginkgo biboba demonstrated similar but inconsistent findings. Adverse events were mild.

CONCLUSION: 

Ginkgo biloba is potentially beneficial for the improvement of cognitive function, activities of daily living, and global clinical assessment in patients with mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer's disease. However, due to limited sample size, inconsistent findings and methodological quality of included trials, more research are warranted to confirm the effectiveness and safety of ginkgo biloba in treating mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease.

 

Rosemary

 It is also worth noting that it  has been extensively investigated for the possible therapeutic effect related to AD. Other interesting diterpenes including the glycosidic forms could have different bioavailability and therapeutic profile. Further research in this field will therefore provide more evidence on the therapeutic potential of rosemary diterpenes. All the available date to date however suggest that their effect on AD is very promising and further research including clinical trials is well warranted.

 

Ashwagandha

A 30-d course of oral administration of a semipurified extract of the root of Withania somnifera consisting predominantly of withanolides and withanosides reversed behavioral deficits, plaque pathology, accumulation of β-amyloid peptides (Aβ) and oligomers in the brains of middle-aged and old APP/PS1 Alzheimer's disease transgenic mice. It was similarly effective in reversing behavioral deficits and plaque load in APPSwInd mice (line J20). The temporal sequence involved an increase in plasma Aβ and a decrease in brain Aβ monomer after 7 d, indicating increased transport of Aβ from the brain to the periphery. Enhanced expression of low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein (LRP) in brain microvessels and the Aβ-degrading protease neprilysin (NEP) occurred 14-21 d after a substantial decrease in brain Aβ levels. However, significant increase in liver LRP and NEP occurred much earlier, at 7 d, and were accompanied by a rise in plasma sLRP, a peripheral sink for brain Aβ. In WT mice, the extract induced liver, but not brain, LRP and NEP and decreased plasma and brain Aβ, indicating that increase in liver LRP and sLRP occurring independent of Aβ concentration could result in clearance of Aβ. Selective down-regulation of liver LRP, but not NEP, abrogated the therapeutic effects of the extract. The remarkable therapeutic effect of W. somnifera mediated through up-regulation of liver LRP indicates that targeting the periphery offers a unique mechanism for Aβ clearance and reverses the behavioral deficits and pathology seen in Alzheimer's disease models.

 

Spearmint

Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of supplementation with a spearmint (Mentha spicata L.) extract, high in polyphenols including rosmarinic acid, on cognitive performance, sleep, and mood in individuals with age-associated memory impairment (AAMI).

Design: Subjects with AAMI (N = 90; 67% female; age = 59.4 ± 0.6 years) were randomly assigned (n = 30/group) to consume 900, 600, or 0 mg/day (two capsules, once daily) spearmint extract for 90 days, in this double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Assessments were completed for cognition (days 0, 45, and 90), sleep (days 0 and 90), and mood (days 0 and 90) by using the Cognitive Drug Research (CDR) System, Leeds Sleep Evaluation Questionnaire (LSEQ), and Profile of Mood States (POMS), respectively.

Results: Quality of working memory and spatial working memory accuracy improved after supplementation with 900 mg/day spearmint extract by 15% (p = 0.0469) and 9% (p = 0.0456), respectively, versus placebo. Subjects consuming 900 mg/day spearmint extract reported improvement in their ability to fall asleep, relative to subjects consuming placebo (p = 0.0046). Overall treatment effects were evident for vigor-activity (p = 0.0399), total mood disturbance (p = 0.0374), and alertness and behavior following wakefulness (p = 0.0415), with trends observed for improvements after spearmint supplementation relative to placebo.

 

Curcumin

This review examines the efficacy of curcumin, a polyphenol derived from turmeric herb, to treat AD. We summarize the in vivo and in vitro research describing the mechanisms of action in which curcumin modifies AD pathology: curcumin inhibits the formation and promotes the disaggregation of amyloid-β plaques, attenuates the hyperphosphorylation of tau and enhances its clearance, binds copper, lowers cholesterol, modifies microglial activity, inhibits acetylcholinesterase, mediates the insulin signaling pathway, and is an antioxidant. In conclusion, curcumin has the potential to be more efficacious than current treatments. However, its usefulness as a therapeutic agent may be hindered by its low bioavailability. If the challenge of low bioavailability is overcome, curcumin-based medications for AD may be in the horizon.