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Is There a Cure for Alzheimer's Disease?

According to some recent research, there may be a cure for Alzheimer's disease, at least in mice. It is entirely possible that it will also be effective when tried in humans. Plus, it is safe and cheap to try.

I came across the story in the February 2009 issue of "Alternatives," one of the few great health newsletters that reports on all the stuff your doctor won't know about for years (the most consistent "continuing education" many doctors receive after medical school is from drug companies, a source which may be biased, to say the least). Researchers found that nicotinamide can restore memory loss that results from Alzheimer's.

What is nicotinamide? That's where the news gets even better. It is essentially another name for niacinamide, which is a very inexpensive form of vitamin B3 - which you can buy at Wal-Mart or any pharmacy or health food store.

Doctor Kim Green, a researcher at the University of California, gave niacinamide to mice with Alzheimer's, in a daily dose that is the equivalent of 2,000 to 3,000 milligrams for humans. Four months later, according to Green, "Cognitively, they were cured... They performed as if they'd never developed the disease." In memory tests researchers found no difference between the treated mice and healthy ones.

The niacinamide both restored lost memory ability and protected the mice's brains from further memory loss. It basically prevented cognitive decline from the disease and reversed what damage there was. This could be huge news for sufferers of Alzheimer's.

Of course you should talk to your doctor before trying to treat yourself or loved ones with niacinamide. But it's worth noting that according to Doctor David Williams of "Alternatives," "There has never been a death reported from niacinamide supplementation." He also points out that animal studies show the toxic level for humans would be around 370,000 milligrams daily. That's nearly a pound, and more than a hundred times what the latest research suggests a person needs for treatment.

Human trials are planned for this year, so you may see this hit the news on television soon. Alzheimer's patients in the trial will be given 1,500 milligrams of niacinamide twice daily. Of course half will receive a placebo. From other research pointed to by Doctor Williams, it seems that smaller doses spread throughout the day are a better idea. Our bodies may not be able to absorb more than 250 milligrams at a time.

Williams also noted that in using niacinamide to treat other ailments (it's apparently good for many problems associated with aging), the brands which didn't use preservatives appeared to work better. Whether or not this turns out to be a cure it certainly seems to be safe, and the cost is less than $10 per month. I'll report on the human trials when I hear more.

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