Tag Archives: N-acetyl cysteine

Biomed Approach to Alzheimer’s Disease?


Alzheimer’s is one of those ‘mysteries’ like autism- but we now know that many kids can recover from autism with what is called a biomedical or ‘biomed’ approach that addresses underlying biological dysfuntions that result in physical or behavioral symptoms. Could adults also recover from Alzheimer’s, or at least halt its progression, with a biomed approach? Some of you may be familiar with NAC (N-acetyl cysteine) and its use in ASD- but look at these results on Alzheimer’s mice!
” The results showed that the mice pretreated with NAC had significantly greater retention in the step through test and shorter latencies in the water maze performance.”
Biochemical markers were also reversed or reduced with NAC pre-treatment.

There was another study that looked at a combo of NAC and acetyl-L-carnitine and S-adenosyl methionine on AD mice, too, with good results.
Behavioral abnormalities correlated with a decline in acetylcholine, which was also prevented by this nutriceutical combination, suggesting that neurotransmitter imbalance may contribute to their manifestation.

What brought me down this trail was looking at factors in RLS (which I have) and often it has to do with low iron or low oxygen transport and this is why iron supplements often help. Didn’t help for me, and neither did any of the other usual things like B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, etc. Usually, smoking makes RLS worse but in some cases, it oddly helps (including for me), and it turns out this is true for a subset of RLS patients and also Parkinsons’ patients, and the connection has to do with acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter.

On a side note, PD drugs like Requip are also used for RLS. These drugs are not that much more effective than placebos and carry the risk of serious side-effects, but perhaps they do work for a subset of RLS patients whose symptoms have to do with an underlying mechanism of action involving the same neurotransmitters that are involved in Parkinson’s Disease. They target dopamine receptors, which are also known to be defective in some patients with Alzheimer’s Disease, who have PD-type symptoms along with their AD.

RLS itself is also sometimes an early warning sign of AD (hope to God that’s not my situation). So there is this connection with both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and RLS, and a connection with improvement in PD and RLS symptoms with nicotine.There has also been some research showing that nicotine patches slightly improve memory in pre-demetia patients.

So we have scientific evidence that nicotine helps alleviate symptoms in some sufferers of AD, PD, and RLS. We also have evidence that these symptoms are related to acetylcholine levels, and that NAC normalizes acetylcholine levels in AD mice. What is the connection with nicotine and acetylcholine?
Nicotine imitates the action of a natural neurotransmitter called acetylcholine and binds to a particular type of acetylcholine receptor, known as the nicotinic receptor.

I’m not recommending that anyone with RLS, PD, or AD take up smoking. In fact, I’m not recommending anything. But as you see, there is this connection with acetylcholine, RLS, AD and PD. So can it be prevented or reversed? You may have heard of coconut oil for AD but that is another story. Here are the mouse studies on NAC and other natural substances that raise glutathione and affect neurotransmitters and the doses are high but the results look promising and so do studies on NAC for AD in humans. Maybe one day, Alzheimer’s treatment will be focused on using neutraceuticals like NAC. Or maybe not, since there is no big money to be made in that.

For now, preliminary research in mice looks good and I hope we see more human studies on this soon!






Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Disclaimer: the content of this article is for information purposes only and is not to be construed as medical advice.