In October 2007, my husband, who is epileptic, took a pharmaceutical drug, not knowing that its use was contraindicated in those with epilepsy and subdural hemotoma. It causes mild brain-swelling even among those with healthy nerve tissue. The swelling led to him to have a major stroke.
Anyone who has dealt with the biological stresses of stroke knows what a long, tedious, and painful recovery it can be, for family members as well as the stroke victim. Having no health insurance, and no out-of-pocket money to cover any of the medical expenses, my husband and I were left to deal with stroke recovery alone.
This was a tricky situation, especially considering that I was pregnant and that my husband was
unable to return to work for nearly a year, but we learned to make the best of our situation. I was
fortunate to have an occupation as a nutritionist and herbalist, which allowed me access to a wonderful line of quality supplements. Without the aid of conventional medical care, our ability to treat his stroke naturally was essential. It was a life-or-death situation.
With the help of these ten products, along with a healthy diet high in fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats, my husband was able to go from being at Death's Door to being smarter and sharper than ever before, all in a matter of about eight months. While this may not seem like much of an accomplishment, anyone who has dealt with stroke can understand what an amazing recovery this can be for some people.
It is my earnest hope that those seeking alternative treatment for stroke, whether by necessity or as a complement to conventional medical care, be able to use these supplements to regain their strength and function.
Most stroke victims have severely depleted body stores of ATP, or adenosine triphosphate, the primary source of energy for most cellular activities. Depleted ATP has been linked to heart diseaseand organ failure of a number of bodily systems, since it is the fuel that keeps every cell of the body in working order.
D-ribose, a naturally occurring carbohydrate molecule, helps to restore the body's natural balance of ATP, which provides a healthy--and even life-saving--fuel for those whose bodies' systems have been weakened by cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, or physical trauma.
We found that d-ribose was beneficial at restoring brain power and raising my husband's overall energy levels. When his energy levels would crash and he would have difficulty moving, speaking, or preforming day-to-day tasks like eating and showering, it worked as a remarkably effective pick-me-up. We also found that, in our case, d-ribose worked magnificently to stop episodes of cardiac distress. Chest pain and stroke-related migraines would diminish tremendously when d-ribose was used.
A therapeutic dose of d-ribose can range from 1-10 grams daily. Because it is so expensive and so effective, we found that an as-needed dose, in times of physical stress, of 5 or 10 grams, was sufficient at halting chest pain and regaining mental focus and energy. There are no known contraindications of consuming D-ribose, but it is always wise to use your common sense and not exceed the dose recommended by the manufacturer.
2. Coenzyme Q-10
Also known as ubiquinone, or by its shortened nickname CoQ-10, this oil-soluble supplement is seen as a lifesaver to many of those with chronic illnesses. Like its distant cousin d-ribose, CoQ-10 assists the body in the manufacturing of ATP, the building block of cellular energy, thus
strengthening every system of the body.
The body naturally produces CoQ-10 when it is younger, but in old age and in times of physical stress, its production of CoQ-10 is inhibited. I believe that this may be a tremendous part of the reason that stroke victims often relapse within the first few weeks following a stroke--because their bodies' natural sources of CoQ-10 have been depleted, weakening their body as a whole.
Although we used a higher dose than average, we found that a dose of between 100-300 mg of CoQ-10 daily was fantastically beneficial at keeping my husband's energy levels high and improving his mental clarity, as well as his physical motor control, following his stroke.
3. Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6, or pyridoxal phosphate (PLP), is a water-soluble vitamin that, among other functions, assists in the synthesis of four key neurotransmitters: epinephrine, norepinephrine, serotonin, and gamma-aminobutyric acid. As a result, it has long been linked to increased mental energy, clarity, and function. It also aids in the synthesis and function of hemoglobin, which can a helpful "plus" to stroke victims struggling with related illnesses.
B6 is best taken sublingually (under the tongue), since oral administration is less efficient at allowing it to quickly enter the bloodstream. It is remarkably inexpensive and readily available at most pharmacies and health food stores. Because it is a water-soluble vitamin, there is no known toxicity threshold--in other words, it is nearly impossible to overdose on B6, so you can use it to your heart's content.
4. Vitamin B12
Like Vitamin B6, B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that enables the function of neurotransmitters and other physical, mental, and emotional abilities. It is involved in the metabolic function of every cell in the body, which makes it critical for those whose body's systems have been weakened by stroke and related traumas and diseases.
It also plays a key role in helping the body to absorb fatty acids, which is important because of the critical role that omega-3 fats maintain in the health of brain and nerve tissue.
Because B-vitamins can be inefficient to absorb when swallowed, it is recommended that, as with B6, B12 be taken sublingually for optimum absorption.
Many Americans, especially vegans and vegetarians, may have difficulty getting sufficient levels of B12 unless they eat foods fortified with this life-giving nutrient. This is doubly true for stroke victims, who have an exaggerated need for it. Consider taking larger doses of Vitamin B12 if you do not regularly consume animal products such as egg, milk, cheese, chicken, fish, or red meat.
Although water-soluble, there may be some risks to taking very large amounts of vitamin B6 if you have some medical conditions, so talk to your doctor or nutrition consultant before taking extremely high doses if you have any other medical conditions.
5. Fish Oil
Omega-3 fatty acids have received a tremendous amount of media attention in the past year because of an overwhelming number of studies linking them to positive benefits, which range from higher IQs in children, to reliable treatment of depression, to reduced risk of heart disease in adults.
Fish oil, especially from fatty fish such as salmon, are very high in these healthy fatty acids and contain an ideal ratio of EPA, DHA, and ALA (the three most important fatty acids). A healthy alternative for vegetarian patients is hemp-seed oil, although it is marginally more expensive.
Fish oil benefits stroke victims in two ways: by improving mental health and nervous system function, and by helping to prevent coronary artery disease following a stroke. It also helps to prevent other diseases relating to blood vessels, which is essential for someone who has suffered a hemorrhagic stroke and is at risk of having related problems.
My husband found that fish oil, along with hemp oil, dramatically improved his mental clarity, in addition to helping to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, which are common after a stroke.
When my husband first came home from the hospital, there were times that I hardly recognized him--and, perhaps more sadly, times that he hardly remembered me. He would sometimes ask the same question three or four times in an hour, or would have completely forgotten about important and memorable times in our relationship when I referred to them. Although he had no history of anxiety disorders, he also became prone to severe panic attacks after his stroke.
After only a few days of taking large doses of fish oil, we noticed his mental clarity begin to come back and his anxiety and depression begin to diminish. Finally, in spite of all my fears, his memories of our first date, our first vacation, and our favorite movie began to return. With a significant amount of help from the miraculous complex of omega-3 fats provided by fish oil, I was able to have my husband back, and his sense of memory now--a year later--is better than it has ever been.
If you are using a fish oil derived from tuna or any other predatory fish, it is a good idea to choose a brand that has been molecularly distilled, as this eliminates the risk of heavy metal contamination. Although I can't say enough for the benefits of fish oil, it is worth warning that extremely large amounts might contribute to the risk of a secondary stroke (although moderately high amounts appear to greatly reduce the risk). If you're not sure how much to take, follow the manufacturer's guidelines, or talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or nutritionist.
6. Ginkgo Biloba
Ginkgo biloba, thought to be one of the most ancient tree species in the modern world, has long been praised for its ability to enhance mental clarity. Often used to treat Alzheimer's, dementia, and amnesia, it is also a key step in recovering mental function following a stroke.
Ginkgo works by improving blood flow to most organs, including the brain, and by blocking some of the effects of the body's overproduction of platelets. Both of these are beneficial at promoting stroke recovery while preventing the risk of a secondary stroke or heart attack. It also works as an antioxidant to protect the body from damage caused by free radicals--another step that is essential in regaining control of the mind and body.
There are no known contraindications against ginkgo biloba, although some herbalists, to be on the safe side, recommend against taking it if you have hemophilia, von Willebrand disease, or any other hemorrhagic disorder, or if you are taking very large daily doses of aspirin.
My husband reported that ginkgo biloba seemed to give him headaches, so we lowered his dose to 40 mg daily, although up to 200 mg is a healthy daily dose for most people in recovery from stroke.
A trendy component of many energy drinks, taurine is a naturally occurring organic acid. It has been used to regulate hypertension, hypoglycemia, and diabetes, which may often be issues and risk factors among people who are in recovery from stroke. It assists with stroke recovery by increasing oxygen uptake in the brain and in stabilizing the health of cellular membranes.
Taurine also acts as an antioxidant, which can help to prevent free-radical damage to your already-weakened body, and acts as a potentiatior for the hippocampus region of the brain, which may have been injured or weakened by a stroke.
While it can be found readily in many fortified beverages, including energy-drinks like Red Bull, you can avoid the potentially unwanted effects of the caffeine and corn syrup in these beverages by instead opting to use a packaged taurine supplement, in the form of a tablet or pill.
Rutin is a bioflavinoid readily found in buckwheat, which can assist in the body's absorption of vitamin C. It also acts as an antioxidant to prevent free radical damage, and may reduce the risk of hypertension. While these are important functions, rutin serves a much more critical use to those in recovery from stroke and any other hemorrhagic disease: it strengthens and rebuilds damaged blood vessels.
By strengthening blood vessels, most specifically capillaries, this wondrous supplement will strongly reduce your risk of having a second stroke or any other related disorder. It helps to reduce inflammation and keep the walls of your blood vessels thick and muscular, which can prevent many different types of hemorrhagic episode, including stroke.
There is also an extra bonus to rutin supplementation. You'll likely find that, if you're experiencing any problems with hemorrhoids or varicose veins, these will drastically improve or disappear when you begin taking it.
In my husband's case, 100-500 mg of rutin daily was sufficient and helped him in his recovery from stroke. You may find that a larger or higher dose can be beneficial for your body type and condition.
9. Folic Acid
A miracle vitamin, like its cousins B6 and B12, folic acid works wonders for people in all stages of life. It has been strongly implicated in recent times for pregnant women, since it drastically reduces risk of neural tube defects and preterm labor. Many studies have also concluded its use to prevent and treat heart disease, hypertension, and stroke. Because hypertension and heart disease are major contributing risk factors of stroke, folic acid works fantastically by treating each of these conditions simultaneously.
Another key factor of folic acid's role in stroke recovery is its proven ability to contribute to mental acuity and verbal fluency, which have both likely been compromised in people who have suffered a major stroke. Even more importantly for some patients, folic acid is suspected to treat depression, anxiety, and related psychological disorders, since these often follow strokes.
The risk of toxicity from folic acid is extraordinarily low, since it is a water-soluble vitamin, but very, very high amounts (for example, taking an entire box of highly concentrated folic acid at one time), have caused kidney distress in some individuals. While the risk of an adverse reaction is very low, please exercise common sense and caution when taking folic acid or any other supplement.
Vinpocetine is a semi-synthetic derivative of periwinkle, which acts in two ways to aid patients who are in recovery from stroke. It is often used in Europe as a treatment for a variety of illnesses, but remains little-known (although somewhat readily available) in the United States.
The first way that it helps someone recovering from stroke is that it acts as an antivasoconstrictor, meaning that it helps to relax and dilate the muscles of blood vessels, thus decreasing hypertension and related symptoms. This, in turn, reduces risk of a secondary stroke and improves blood flow to all regions of the body, including the brain.
Vinpocetine also acts as a nootropic--nicknamed a "smart drug"--increasing mental agility, memory, stamina, and awareness. It is thought to increase mental acuity by increasing and replenishing neurotransmitters, which may have been damaged by stroke or head injury. This will likely work along with other supplements to restore your brain-power to its original strength, and possibly beyond.
It may also assist in recovery from depression.
Some anecdotal evidence suggests that vinpocetine in large doses can cause sweating, flushing, and other unpleasant side effects. You may want to start at a low dose of 2-5 milligrams and work your way up, depending on your comfort level.
While I intend, and sincerely hope, that this guide will be of use to anyone who is in recovery from stroke, it is not intended to substitute the advice of a medical professional, if such help is available. Always exercise caution when taking a new drug or supplement, especially if you have a preexisting medical condition or are taking prescription medications.
Everyone's body works differently, but this is what we found worked wonders to allow my husband to come back to me from his post-stroke fog and confusion. Without these supplements, I do not believe that my husband would still be alive, and certainly don't believe that he would have regained so much of his original personality, wit, and intellectual prowess. I wish the best of luck to anyone else who is struggling with similar problems. Hang in there: it will get better!
Ten Essential Supplements For Natural Stroke Recovery
1 reply to this topic
Posted 04 January 2013 - 01:33 PM
Well you have great list of healthy items thanks for sharing it with us. Well I wanna add in this that the fish oil I used it and its a wonderful product to gain the body weight with no side effects. I will try to focus on other things which you have mentioned in this post.
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