Researchers have found that anticholinergic drugs, used to treat people with epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, depression and incontinence, could increase the risk of dementia by almost 50 percent.
Given that they block the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, the finding that anticholinergic drugs increase the risk of dementia is hardly surprising. Acetylcholine is known to play key roles in learning and memory.
Anticholinergic drugs are well known to cause numerous other problems as well. These include blurred vision, confusion, constipation, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, hallucinations, increased heart rate and irregular heartbeat, reduced sweating, and raised body temperature. These side effects can be particularly pronounced in elderly people.
Fortunately, scientific studies have shown that natural approaches to controlling epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and depression are safe and effective. For example, recent research found that vitamin D may help reduce the frequency of seizures in epilepsy patients. Other nutrients shown to be helpful in epilepsy include folate, vitamin E, and vitamin B6.
Similarly, a recent scientific review found that vitamins may have benefits in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.
To read how B vitamin supplements and high levels of omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to stop the development of Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, read this article on our website.