July 4, 2014
Ashwagandha: My Promising Trial Run
As I reported back in May, I saw an interesting interview with Dr. Rudy Tanzi, who was questioned about the claims that coconut oil and curcumin might cure Alzheimer's disease (AD).
I hadn't heard about Dr. Tanzi, so I did some research. As a consequence, I've become fascinated by his work. First, I want to establish his impressive credentials.
Dr. Rudy Tanzi
Dr. Tanzi is a Professor of Neurology, and holder of the Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy endowed chair of Child Neurology and Mental Retardation at Harvard University. He also heads the Genetics and Aging Research Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, which comprises eight laboratories investigating the genetic causes of Alzheimer's disease.
Dr. Tanzi has been investigating the molecular and genetic basis of neurological diseases since 1980, when he participated in the pioneering study that led to the location of the Huntington's disease gene, the first disease gene identified by genetic linkage analysis.
He spearheads the Alzheimer's Genome Project, which detected four new AD gene candidates. Time magazine heralded this achievement as one of the "Top 10 Medical Breakthroughs of 2008."
Dr. Tanzi is one of the ten most-cited AD researchers, having co-authored over 450 research papers, including three of the ten most cited.
He co-authored the New York Times bestseller Super Brain with Deepak Chopra.
I could go on, but you get the idea.
Dr. Tanzi and Ashwagandha
Here's the video interview with Dr. Tanzi about coconut oil and curcumin as Alzheimer's "cures." About three minutes into the tape, the interviewer asks Dr. Tanzi what he does to maintain his health and avoid Alzheimer's. Tanzi says the only supplement he takes is ashwagandha. Since there are many products, he recommends the version produced by Douglas Laboratories, but notes that a doctor's prescription is required for purchase.
Check out the interview:
When I searched "ashwagandha" and "Douglas Laboratories," I discovered that their product no longer required a prescription. I also learned that the supplement was being studied in Tanzi's labs as part of their Alzheimer's research.
Ashwagandha is used for much more than protection against Alzheimer's. There are reports that the supplement has remarkable stress-relieving properties, and is as effective as the drugs used to treat depression and anxiety. It has been touted as a promising alternative treatment for a variety of degenerative diseases, including Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. Reports suggest that its anti-oxidant properties seek and destroy the free radicals linked to certain diseases, and to aging.
Want more? There are claims that ashwaghanda aids sleep, boosts energy, and enhances libido.
However, there's a lack of proper clinical trials to support these claims. I'm skeptical of such undocumented assertions.
If It's Good Enough for Dr. Tanzi...
But in this case, the supplement is being actively studied at clinics headed by Dr. Tanzi, one of the nation's top neurological scientists. It's the only supplement Dr. Tanzi takes.
So, what do you suppose I did? Yep, Amazon one-click. Douglas Labs' ashwagandha was headed my way.
I've been taking the supplement for about a month. I feel more energetic than I have in a long time. My general sense of well-being seems stronger.
It may well be the placebo effect, but I'll take it.
Later this week, I take off for Copenhagen and a cruise of the Norwegian fjords. It will be interesting to see how I hold up. I'll keep you posted.