This Natural Treatment Aims to Help Fight Alzheimer’s

Former First Lady Nancy Reagan died at age 94 this week. During her husband Ronald’s political career, she was one of his most-trusted advisers. But perhaps her most significant role came during his final years.

In 1994, President Regan was diagnosed with a mysterious neurodegenerative disease called Alzheimer’s. Nancy became his primary caregiver and a fierce advocate for a cure, even after his death 10 years later.

In the U.S., an estimated 5.3 million people were living with Alzheimer’s in 2015. About 5.1 million were age 65 or older.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most-common cause of dementia, which causes memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving and language.

Over time, Alzheimer’s disease worsens to the point where patients can completely lose any idea of who they are. They may have little to no recollection of their lives leading up to the present moment.

This cognitive decline is frustrating and, ultimately, tragic for the patient. It may be just as difficult for loved ones, who watch as the person they care so much about becomes just a stranger living in the body of someone they used to know.

You see, the body is still there, but the mind is gone — a horrific assault on life to say the least. Before President Reagan died at the age of 93, one article we read about him said he had the body of a healthy 60-year-old.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association …

  Every 67 seconds, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s.

  Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th-leading cause of death in the United States.

  There are approximately 500,000 people dying each year because they have Alzheimer’s.

  1 in 3 seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.

  In 2013, 15.5 million caregivers provided an estimated 17.7 billion hours of unpaid care valued at more than $220 billion.

It’s important to note that, as of today, there is nothing on the market that is able to cure Alzheimer’s. But recently, scientists took a major step forward in slowing the progression of, and possibly even preventing, this disease.

The treatment that’s currently heading to clinical trials is a natural product that chemists have already patented. It’s a botanical compound called withanamides.

Withanamides are derived from the plant Ashwagandha, an herbal remedy that’s been used in Eastern medicine for centuries.

Related story: Relieve stress naturally with the Ashwagandha herb

While plants cannot be patented, compounds from it can.

Michigan State University holds the patent for withanamides. And earlier research revealed that the compound, found in the plant’s seeds, proved to be a powerful antioxidant.

So powerful, in fact, that it’s double the strength of what’s on today’s market.

Muraleedharan Nair, a natural products chemist at MSU, had this to say about the plant’s compound:

"Our compound withanamides may work to prevent Alzheimer’s disease at the onset, and it also could prevent its progression."

According to ScienceDaily.com,

"Alzheimer’s begins when a specific protein starts breaking, or cleaving, at the wrong place to produce an unwanted fragment. This bad fragment, called BAP, stresses cells’ membranes, sparks plaque formation and eventually kills the cells. This attack begins in the frontal lobe, erasing memories and continuing its unrelenting assault deeper into the brain."

To date, pharmaceutical companies have focused their efforts on blocking this "bad break." But the dilemma is that the majority of this process is healthy for the brain.

The better approach, as Nair outlined it:

"Rather than trying to stop only the malevolent cleaving, our compound keeps the bad protein from entering the cell where it does its damage. Our studies have shown that withanamides effectively protect the brain cells by neutralizing the effect of BAP."

Nair and his collaborators published in Phytotherapy Research that withanamides protected mouse brain cells from BAP damage.

A recent study, also published in Phytotherapy Research and using mouse models, showed that withanamides passed the blood-brain barrier. That’s the filter that controls which chemicals reach the brain.

The results showed the compound reaching its intended target, passing the last test before advancing to human testing.

After the clinical trials, Nair and his Natural Therapeutics company plan to pursue FDA approval for this Alzheimer’s treatment.

"Dr. Nair discovered his molecule in a food-safe plant," said Jim Richter, Natural Therapeutics president. "It’s also classified as GRAS — generally regarded as safe — by the FDA. This means that we can bypass many of the hurdles that slow synthetic molecules that need testing. By compressing the timeline dramatically, we’ll be able to save tens of millions of dollars, and if successful, bring an effective treatment to Alzheimer’s patients."

If proven effective, this could be a remarkable treatment that could prevent Alzheimer’s disease and slow its progression in current patients. The millions of lives saved would be nothing short of a major triumph for medical care and all of humanity.

Happy and healthy investing,

Brad Hoppmann

Your thoughts on “This Natural Treatment Aims to Help Fight Alzheimer’s”

  1. One does not need to ‘patent’ anything unless they are wanting to make it proprietary. When God made the herbs for our food, He knew what He was doing. The Ashwagandha herb can be purchased in health food stores.
    There is also another food that is being shown to be healthy against dementia and it was shown on the CBN show The 700 Club, watch here: http://www.cbn.com/tv/1503829358001?mobile=false

  2. Brad,
    I very much enjoy the health tips and news. Perhaps, you might consider an area on your site with specific links to specific ailments, or previous articles.

  3. I have a degree in chemistry and never heard of withanamides before. I suspect this is simply a term used to describe a mixture different amides. The research that I am aware of used niacinamide to actually reverse Alzheimer’s that had been induced in rats. Niacinamide is one of the B-vitamins. I take 500 mg/day; the therapeutic dose is around 2000 mg/day.

    Turmeric is also considered as a preventative for Alzheimer’s. These are very inexpensive and readily available.

  4. The best cure for any disease is when the body heals itself. By unblocking bioelecticity in specific areas for specific diseases the immune system functions properly. It is how I got my life back to normal without surgery, radiation or chemotherapy from an aggressive form of skin cancer (7 growths in 48 hours ) in 30 days. I used a form of bioelectric healing called Tong Ren. There is a weekly clinic on Sunday evenings at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital (which is associated with (Massachusetts General Hospital) where people with neurological diseases including Alzheimer’s participate in Tong Ren group sessions to improve the quality of their lives.
    tongrenstation.com.

  5. it is amazing and herbal treatments are contributing much in healing diseases.I have heard of ashwaghanda and if this herbal plant can be a treatment to Alzeimer!s be a great relief to those who suffer from the Alzeimer!s.

  6. The natural supplement ginko biloba, taken daily for a week prior to high-altitude exposure, can reduce or eliminate Acute Mountain Sickness. Researchers have used varied amounts, but I take two capsules a day for 5-7 days before skiing in Colorado, and am now free of the horrible headaches I got in the past.

  7. Ken, withanamides is the name given to a class of steroidal lactones first isolated from the Withania Somnifera (ashwagandha) fruit. Ashwagandha is a member of the Solanaceae (nightshade) family which also includes potatoes and tomatoes.

  8. In a search of PubMed for ‘withanamides alzheimer ‘, exactly two (2) papers came up. I’d say this reflects minimal interest by the Alzheimer research community. The papers are the two mentioned above. One, from six years ago employed cell culture (a far cry from an intact human) and has apparently never been followed up, which suggests a ho-hum response by researchers in the field; the other study used mice and did nothing more than assess penetrability by these compounds of the blood-brain barrier. At this stage of the game, any bet placed on the success of these compounds to treat/prevent Alzheimer disease would be foolish. Dozens of compounds examined over decades have shown theoretical promise in Tx of this disease, and of those dozens, precious few have panned out as worth-while treatments at all, and of course none has been a “cure”. So don’t hold your breath with withanamides. If, by some miracle, withanamides do pan out in real actual scientific studies of humans, the resultant compound(s) will not be available from docs for a very long time.

    Don’t want to wait for evidence of safety and efficacy? No problem—withanamides are already available (or so it is claimed–are they really withanamides?) on the web. The supplement hucksters can use the plant’s GRAS status to get around FDA’s drug laws and justify selling these drugs as a “food supplement”. They will rake in serious money. Nice for them, and naive articles such as Brad’s help them succeed. Bear in mind that it’s also entirely possible that these compounds ARE NOT safe when ingested at doses that are needed to have an effect on the brain. Perhaps the damage will not show up for a few years. Not to worry though, it’s only your brain, right? Best of luck if you decide to become a human guinea pig.

    1. Exactly why Big Placebo (the cynical money-grubbing placebo arm of Big Pharma, and largely owned by Big Pharma), loves to market “all-natural” remedies. The remedies largely do nothing, FDA knows they do nothing and hence doesn’t bother regulating them unless after the fact they cause harm, and no expensive research is required to demonstrate safety and efficacy prior to raking in money with sales to the faithful. It’s a win-win. Big Placebo rakes in billion$ fleecing the faithful and the faithful are content to be fleeced.

  9. The symptoms of Alzheimers sound exactly like end stage mercury poisoning. Oldtimers really where heavily exposed to heavy metals. Mercury, lead, copper, aluminum, are everywhere but were more so to anyone older than 30; contamination chances seem near a certainty among the elderly. I wonder what would happen if they treated for that. Poof! Problem solved. Maybe. “Doggone it! That’s too simple! That can’t be right!” she said facetiously.

    1. Mercury exposure and AD: Been looked at for a long time, along with other metals (remember the aluminum/AD scare?). Evidence for a connection is spotty and inconclusive but not entirely negative.

      1. Still and yet, I have never heard that Step 1 after a diagnoses of this and related diseases (as regards: “a mystery to medicine”) would be a total detox and stripping of heavy metals, pest- and herbicides and other indoor and outdoor chemical, environmental, drug and viral contaminates. I’m not too confident in the medical/big pharma protocols. I feel disgust when I view the commercials during just one news break. I have great confidence in the body’s ability to heal itself when returned to its cleanest self, fed only with the best natural diet but it is considered such a radical idea considering the popular trends, fads and ignorance. There is much profit/incentive in not allowing people to get and keep healthy. It is an ethical conundrum to what I want my kids to find in my IRA.

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Brad Hoppmann originally grew up in Florida, but has lived in Baltimore, Charlotte and New York as well throughout his career. Always an athlete, he played varsity football and water polo at the University of Florida and received All-SEC/SCC honors.