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A diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease can be devastating to patient, family and friends. It is the eighth leading cause of death in the US and a person can live an average of eight years or more after diagnosis. While no one knows what causes it, we do know there is a chemical in the brain called acetylcholine that helps nerve cells to communicate. Research has shown that there is not enough acetylcholine in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease. As a matter of fact, in advanced Alzheimer's cases, acetylcholine levels plunge 90% or more, promoting huge brain cell die-offs.

We also know an enzyme (neurotransmitter) known as acetylcholinesterase breaks down acetylcholine in the brain. That's why the medications Aricept, Cognex, Exelon and Reminyl are called acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. They prevent increased concentrations of acetylcholinesterase from destroying what little acetylcholine Alzheimers patients have left. Of these medications, Reminyl is the only one that contains galantamine.

Five different Belgium studies on thousands of Alzheimer (AD) patients have shown that galantamine, a natural botanical extract derived from various plant species (particularly snowdrops, daffodils and spider lilies) is an effective treatment for Alzheimer's Disease.

Galantamine is unique. It not only blocks acetylcholinesterase but also increases acetylcholine, offering potential benefits in a wide range of applications. This includes CFS and fibromyalgia since many CFS patients suffer with cognitive difficulties similar to those of Alzheimer's patients.

Possible side effects of the herbal galantamine extract include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea which usually dissipate with a decrease in dosage. Slowly working up to the desired dosage is recommended.

Use of cholinesterase inhibitors such as Aricept, Cognex, Exelon and Reminyl can increase risk of stomach ulcers, and because prolonged use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as aspirin or ibuprofen can also cause stomach ulcers, NSAIDS should not be used in combination with these medications unless under a doctors supervision.

For information on natural treatments for Alzheimer's Disease, see: Aluminum and Alzheimer's.

Also see: Water: The Misunderstood Nutrient  


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