When most people think about Alzheimer’s they rarely think about pain. But believe it or not, some of the most common drugs doctors prescribe for Alzheimer’s patients are painkillers. And the reason they prescribe these drugs may point to a better way to treat Alzheimer’s and any pain they may experience from the disease.
When doctors prescribe painkillers for Alzheimer’s patients, they aren’t doing so to treat the disease. Rather, they’re treating the agitation many Alzheimer’s patients feel. Until recently, doctors would prescribe powerful antipsychotics or antidepressants for agitation. But recent research suggests the painkillers often work significantly better.
The reason, the researchers suggest, is that Alzheimer’s patients don’t know how to communicate their discomfort, so they become agitated. The painkillers simply reduce their discomfort, so they’re less agitated. This would make sense, as arthritis pain is so common, and inflammation contributes to both arthritis pain and brain dysfunction.
Since painkillers are safer than antipsychotics (which increase your risk of stroke and death), doctors would much rather prescribe the pain pills. So the number of pain pills Alzheimer’s patients take has gone up significantly in recent years.
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However, all of this points to a much better way to reduce pain and treat the disease at the same time. And it doesn’t require drugs of any type. There’s a spice that reduces inflammation and treats pain as well as many painkillers. And it has the added benefit of actually treating Alzheimer’s.
Back in 2009, The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine compared the active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, with ibuprofen for pain relief. The study followed 107 people with knee osteoarthritis. The researchers found that the curcumin eased pain and improved function equally as well as the ibuprofen.
Since turmeric works by lowering inflammation, and researchers say inflammation can cause Alzheimer’s, it would make sense that turmeric would reduce Alzheimer’s symptoms. And a new study says it does just that.
On Monday, I’ll tell you about this study. In the meantime, you can use turmeric to spice up your food as liberally as you like. And you can find supplements at your local health food store. But also on Monday, I’ll show you how to find a supplement with a form of turmeric that’s 29 times more effective than ordinary turmeric supplements. Don’t miss it!
Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening is the editor of Nutrient Insider, a twice-a-week email newsletter that brings you the latest healing breakthroughs from the world of nutrition and dietary supplements. For over 20 years, Steve has worked hand-in-hand with some of the nation's top doctors, including Drs. Robert Rowen, Frank Shallenberger, Nan Fuchs, William Campbell Douglass, and best-selling author James Balch. Steve is the author of the book Practical Guide to Home Remedies. As a health journalist, Steve's articles have appeared in countless magazines, blogs, and websites.