The Moringa oleifera plant is highly regarded by dieticians and medical researchers and practitioners due to its superior nutritional content and numerous medical applications. The antioxidant properties of the moringa plant have been well established by previous medical studies and are believed to provide protection against the effects of free radicals that can cause aging and other negative health effects. Recent studies suggest that moringa leaves can also provide protection against the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and may even delay its onset.
A form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease is believed to have a genetic component but can strike even those with no family history of the disease. Most cases of Alzheimer’s occur in individuals over 65 years of age, but the disease can strike much earlier in cases of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. As in other types of dementia, the patient experiences confusion, loss of normal brain function, unpredictable or aggressive tendencies and a gradual deterioration of the mental capacities. This degeneration of the nervous system eventually leads to death. While the exact causes of Alzheimer’s disease are not well understood, research studies seem to indicate that the disease is related to the build-up of fibrous protein compounds within the brain known as amyloids. These amyloids present within the brain as plaques or neurofibrillary tangles and are thought to disrupt the normal functioning of neural impulses within the brain.
Because there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease, most treatments focus on delaying the progress of the disease and alleviating symptoms. Natural treatments including medical marijuana have produced impressive results in preventing continued degeneration. Other treatments focus on improving the emotional state of the patient and controlling any aggressive or violent tendencies that may occur due to the deteriorating mental condition.
Although the precise cases of Alzheimer’s disease are not yet known, a number of correlating factors have been identified that may be responsible for triggering or worsening Alzheimer’s in some patients. These factors include the age and gender of the patient, the use of cigarettes and alcohol, genetic factors, congenital conditions including Down’s syndrome and multiple sclerosis, and the overall level of fat intake by the patient. Most of these factors are not directly under the control of the individual at risk for the disease.
Lifestyle changes are often recommended in order to help delay or prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. These include smoking cessation strategies, reduction of alcohol consumption and, especially, a reduction in fat intake. It is in the latter area that moringa leaves have been shown to be most useful in delaying or preventing Alzheimer’s in vulnerable individuals. A study published in the Annals of Neurosciences in 2005 showed a significant improvement in brain function in rats whose diets were supplemented by moringa leaves prior to their exposure to colchicine, a substance that mimics the action of Alzheimer’s in the brain. Despite the presence of this substance, rats retained much of their cognitive abilities and navigated a previously-completed maze far more accurately and quickly than the control group. These results were attributed to the antioxidant properties of moringa leaves, which served to scavenge free radicals from the system and to protect neural function.
Moringa leaves appear to delay or mitigate the effects of Alzheimer’s disease in laboratory rats due to the supplement’s antioxidant effects. The research indicates that moringa supplements may lessen the impact of Alzheimer’s in individuals already suffering from the disease and may delay or prevent its onset in those who are at risk of developing this devastating illness. By incorporating moringa leaf supplements into daily dietary plans, it is likely that most individuals can improve their chances of avoiding the worst effects of Alzheimer’s disease for themselves and their families.