(NaturalNews) Medical science still has not figured out the puzzle of Alzheimer's disease, but there are some natural remedies that medical researchers say could offer substantial relief.
Colostrum: There are those who argue that the mythical and elusive fountain of youth may actually exist, and that it can be found in something produced by every nursing mammal: colostrum.
Also known as "first milk," colostrum is a form of milk that is produced by the mammary glands of mammals (humans included, of courses), later in pregnancy. Most species will generate colostrum just prior to giving birth. Colostrum contains antibodies that protect newborns against disease, and it also contains a higher concentration of protein than regular milk, and it is lower in fat as well.
These protective benefits of colostrum have a long, rich history. Andrew Keech, PhD., a New Zealand scientist and engineer and author of Colostrum: A Physician's Reference Guide, said ancient Egyptian art depicted Pharaohs drinking it to become immortal. Also, most farmers know that a new calf won't live long if it doesn't drink at least once from its mother's first milk.
In recent decades, there has been a renewed interest in colostrum and the benefits it provides. Scientists have discovered that the proteins contained in this first milk could hold vast treatment capabilities for such chronic maladies as Alzheimer's and rheumatoid arthritis. In fact, several of the proteins found in colostrum are growth and immune factors, and essentially "educate the developing gastrointestinal tract of newborns," an "essential process," according to BodyEcology.com.
How does it work?
Newborns have especially immature digestive systems. Colostrum delivers nutrients in a very low-volume, concentrated form, making them easier to digest. In fact, these nutrients contain a mild laxative, which helps a baby form its first stool, which is called meconium.
Colostrum is also known to contain antibodies known as immunoglobulins, the prime components of an infant's adaptive immune system, providing it with its first natural protection against pathogens.
But adults can also benefit from colostrum.
"Colostrum from pasture-fed cows contains proteins that are able to activate an immune response against human pathogens," says BodyEcology.com, including Escherichia coli, Cryptosporidium parvum, Shigella flexneri, rotavirus, Salmonella and Staphylococcus. In fact, before the advent of modern antibiotics - the development of which, by the way, is lagging, causing a rise in so-called "superbugs" that are resistant to antibiotics - humans protected themselves from infection using colostrum.
These benefits are being further substantiated by new research.
One study, for example, suggests that Proline Rich Polypeptides (PRPS) sometimes called Colostrinin, a component of colostrum, were found to improve the mental function of Alzheimer's patients, according to the Center for Nutritional Research.
In the study, 46 patients were divided into three groups. The first received colostrinin orally (100 micrograms every other day); the second received 100 micrograms every other day of commercially available bio-organic selenium and the third group received a placebo (Editor's note: Selenium is a trace mineral that is essential to good health but required only in small amounts; it "is incorporated into proteins to make selenoproteins, which are important antioxidant enzymes," according to the National Institutes of Health).
Each patient completed 10 cycles of treatment, each of which lasted for three weeks with a two-week break, over the course of one year.
"Research demonstrates that colostrum with a phospholipid delivery system may be an excellent prophylactic against Alzheimer's disease, cognitive dysfunction and dementia. PRP, or colostrinin, a main component of colostrum, is known to improve the mental functioning of Alzheimer's patients," researchers concluded.
Ashwagandha: Researchers at India's National Brain Research Center have begun a series of studies involving an extract of the Ashwagandha root in mice, which "scientists found it can reverse memory loss and may prove to be an effective cure for the disease in humans," the Times of India newspaper reported recently.
Vijayalakshmi Ravindranath, a neuroscientist at NBRC, tested the semi-purified sample on genetically modified mice with Alzheimer's disease. Two sets of mice - middle-aged at nine to ten months and old mice at two years were given oral doses of the extract for 30 days, under continual observation.
Over the course of the month, researchers found a reduction in amyloid plaques, which is a symptom of Alzheimer's, in the mice's brains, as well as an improvement in their cognitive abilities.
Mice "were tested on a radial arm maze, where they are trained to go and pick food from four of the maze's eight arms," said Ravindranath. "Since the mice had Alzheimer's, they were neither able to learn nor retain the learning. But after 20 days of the Ashwagandha treatment, we noticed a difference, and after 30 days they had started behaving normally."
Curry: A recent study conducted by researchers from Duke University found that regular consumption of curry could reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia.
"There is very solid evidence that curcumin (found in curry) binds to plaques, and basic research on animals engineered to produce human amyloid plaques has shown benefits," said researcher Murali Doraiswamy. "You can modify a mouse so that at about 12 months its brain is riddled with plaques. If you feed this rat a curcumin-rich diet, it dissolves these plaques. The same diet prevented younger mice from forming new plaques."
Researchers began a clinical trial in Los Angeles in 2009. Scientists say because of the large amount of curcumin required to cause reductions, they are considering a curcumin pill.