We have safer (and better) answers. But will the government spread the good news? Action Alert!
A new study suggests that, if started early enough, a daily regimen of non-prescription ibuprofen (a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, or NSAID) can prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Whether or not it’s true, it’s a dangerous prescription—especially considering there are much safer natural alternatives that have shown a lot of promise.
Consider the safety profile of NSAIDs. One study conservatively estimated that 107,000 people are hospitalized each year for NSAID-related gastrointestinal complications and “at least 16,500 NSAID-related deaths occur each year among arthritis patients alone.” Other studies have shown that NSAIDs increase the risk of heart failure by 20% and cause half of all bleeding ulcers.
Luckily, there is hope. We reported previously that coconut oil has shown promise in reversing the effects of the disease. That article centered on Mary Newport, MD, who, in the course of treating her husband, found that with Alzheimer’s disease, certain brain cells may have difficulty utilizing glucose (energy made from carbs/sugar), the brain’s principal source of energy. Without fuel, these precious neurons may begin to die.
There is an alternative energy source for brain cells—ketones (energy made from fats). One way to produce ketones is by eliminating carbohydrates from the diet completely. Another way is to consume oils that have medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). When MCT oil is digested, the liver converts it into ketones and releases them directly into the bloodstream. These ketones can then serve as the fuel for damaged brain cells that cannot utilize glucose.
When MCT oil is metabolized, the ketones which the body creates may, according to the latest research, not only protect against the incidence of Alzheimer’s, but may actually reverse it. Moreover, this is also a potential treatment for Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease), drug-resistant epilepsy, brittle type I diabetes, and type II (insulin-resistant) diabetes.
While there haven’t been large scale clinical trials testing coconut oil’s effect on Alzheimer’s (funding such trials has been an issue since coconut oil can’t be patented and make money for Big Pharma), there are studies that support this approach. For instance, high fat diets, ketone bodies, and MCTs have been shown to offer neuroprotective benefits for a wide range of diseases such as dementia, Parkinson’s, stroke, and traumatic brain injury; high fat diets that include MCTs can delay brain aging; and coconut oil has been shown to reduce beta-amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimer’s.
Other encouraging Alzheimer’s news comes from the University of California at Irvine, where a study recently showed that mice with cognitive impairment had dramatic improvement with niacinamide, one of the water-soluble B-complex vitamins known as B-3.
Researchers gave mice the equivalent of a human dose of 2000 to 3000 milligrams of niacinamide, and the results were shocking. “Cognitively, they were cured,” said Dr. Kim Green, the head of the study. “The vitamin completely prevented cognitive decline associated with the disease, bringing them back to the level they’d be at if they didn’t have the pathology.” Niacinamide also improved memory in mice without Alzheimer’s.
Niacinamide isn’t the only B vitamin that may help significantly with Alzheimer’s. A study from Oxford University found that fairly high dosages of three B vitamins (folate, B6 and B12) could reduce the rate of brain atrophy in patients with mild cognitive impairment—because these vitamins reduce homocysteine. (Other studies have found that TMG, or trimethylglycine, also controls homocysteine and is useful if the B vitamins are not enough.) Around 50% of people with mild cognitive impairment go on to develop Alzheimer’s.
It’s pretty shocking that conventional medicine is encouraging people to take NSAIDs every day, given the risks. It’s another example of how a cheap, safe, and effective medicines like coconut oil and B vitamins are throttled in our medical system—because they can’t make drug companies rich. In fact, the FDA recommends that people limit their intake of saturated fats like coconut oil based on the outdated and incorrect notion that these fats increase the risk of cardiovascular disease (for more on this issue, check out our past coverage here).
Action Alert! Tell the FDA, with a copy to Congress, that more research should be done on coconut oil and B vitamins for treating Alzheimer’s. Please send your message immediately.