Dementia has displaced HIV/AIDS for the number 7 spot on the global health watchdog’s list of the 10 biggest causes of death worldwide.
Worldwide, there are 47.5 million people with dementia and another 7.7 million new cases are diagnosed every year. These cases often have a version of deterioration in cognitive function, beyond what might be expected from normal aging.
Dementia affects memory and thinking, orientation, comprehension and calculation, learning capacity, language and judgement. Consciousness is not affected. The cognitive impairments are usually preceded or accompanied by deterioration in emotional control, social behaviors and motivation (WHO, 2017).
Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia killed 1.54 million people in 2015, more than twice the number of deaths from the disease in 2000 (WHO, 2017). Dementia’s climb up the WHO ranking is partly due to the aging of society. It’s also partly due to doctors diagnosing it more frequently because they are more familiar with the disease.
In high-income economies, Alzheimer’s and other dementia rank as the No. 3 cause of death, trailing only heart disease and stroke. By contrast, HIV/AIDS remains on the top 10 list in the poorest countries, alongside problems such as malaria and diarrhea.
Dementia Medication: Pharmaceutical Drugs
There are no cures for dementia. Pharmaceutical firms have struggled to find therapies for mental declines, like they have with HIV/AIDS. Current treatments of HIV/AIDS have pushed fatalities from 1.5 million down to 1.1 million over the same 15-year period. Unfortunately, in just the past few months, both Merck & Co and Eli Lilly & Co. abandoned studies of dementia due to lack of progress. Merck, Biogen Inc., and Roche Holding A Gare are still pursuing potential treatments, which is good news since the most recent dementia medication designed to treat symptoms of Alzheimer’s is over a decade old.
Dementia And Depression
Ayurveda has a different outlook on dementia and cognitive decline, which is supported by a 2006 study linking inflammation and depression to dementia.
There is a correlation between chronic depression and the likelihood of dementia in later life. Evidence of brain changes caused by inflammation appear in both depression and dementia patients. This suggests that an increase in inflammation-induced cell-death, together with a reduction of brain chemistry may play a role in the pathology of these disorders (Leonard & Myint, 2006).
Damage caused by free radicals is another reason for cognitive decline. The brain is susceptible to free radical damage due to its composition of fats and high use of oxygen. Supplementing the body with absorbable fats like phosphatidylserine can aid in the replenishment of those brain cells.
The below herbs for dementia, along with healthy fats and a lifestyle low in stress will help you get the nourishment you need.
Herbs For Dementia: Bacopa
Bacopa (Bacopa monnieri) has been used in Ayurvedic tradition to support the nervous system. It may help maintain neurotransmitter levels as well as moderate free radical damage. Bacopa monnieri has also been shown to improve mental control, logical memory, and paired associate learning in participants aged 55 years and over with age-associated memory impairment, as well as ADHD. Studies have shown that Bacopa must be used long-term, for at least 12 weeks, for the herb to show its true effectiveness (Morgan & Stevens, 2010).
Herbs For Dementia: Ashwagandha
Traditional Ayurveda has long since treated many diseases associated with free radical oxidative damage with Ashwagandha. The active constituents of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) are called withanaloides and there is much research on the degree of antioxidant activity. Two of the withanaloides have been tested for antioxidant activity using three major free-radical scavenging enzymes, superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), and glutathione per-oxidase (GPX) levels. Researchers found decreased activity of these enzymes leads to accumulation of toxic oxidative free radicals resulting in degenerative effects. Thus an increase in these enzymes would represent increased antioxidant activity and a protective effect on neuronal tissue (Bhattacharya et al, 2007).
You don’t have to suffer from cognitive declines. Limit stress, eat healthy fats, and supplement with these herbs for dementia. This will help your brain get the nourishment it needs without suffering antioxidant damage.
Leonard, B. E., & Myint, A. (2006). Inflammation and depression: Is there a causal connection with dementia? Neurotoxicity Research, 10(2), 149–160. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03033243
Morgan, A., & Stevens, J. (2010). Does Bacopa monnieri Improve Memory Performance in Older Persons? Results of a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind Trial. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 16(7), 753-759. doi:10.1089/acm.2009.0342
Bhattacharya SK, Satyan KS, Chakrabarti A. Effect of Trasina, an Ayurvedic herbal formulation, on pancreatic islet superoxide dismutase activity in hyperglycaemic rats. Indian J Exp Biol, 1997;35:297-299