High Altitude Daffodils and One Farmer’s Mission to Combat Alzheimer’s

On the Black Mountains in the Welsh county of Monmouthshire, you will find Kevin Stephens. This 51-year old farmer has set out to become a world leader in the production of a drug made from galantamine — a compound harvested from daffodils.

Since this chemical compound has been shown to ease symptoms of Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia, Mr. Stephens is particularly confident in his plants. Although this process is already utilized in Bulgaria and China, his daffodils are unique based on the altitude they are grown at. This results in a higher concentration of galantamine.

How Galantamine Influences Symptoms of Dementia

It is said that galantamine has been used in medicine for thousands of years. However, it wasn’t until the 1950s that modern medical research took place. After noticing villagers rub their forehead with the bulbs and leaves of the plant, a Bulgarian pharmacologist, with the support of the Soviet Union, extracted galantamine

Since then, many studies have focused on this beneficial compound. Often studied for its ability to boost cognition, galantamine has also been shown to reduce arthritic pain, target inflammation, and even improve symptoms in autistic children. In dementia patients, it mainly works by targeting levels of acetylcholine. This chemical is what allows nerve cells to communicate.

One study, published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice found that treatment with galantamine resulted in significant cognitive improvements among Alzheimer’s patients. Favorable effects were seen regarding activities of daily living, while improving behavioral symptoms and sleep quality.

Flexible dose escalation was also well tolerated. It was concluded that galantamine may be a safe and effective treatment option for mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s patients. Although this treatment is not a cure, it can help slow down the progression of symptoms in some people.

This is another reason why BrainTest® is so powerful. By detecting early warning signs, patients can receive treatment that much sooner. However, since certain medications are not suitable for people with various conditions, it is important that you discuss this treatment option with your doctor.

Mr. Stephen’s Daffodil Patch

Although Mr. Stephen’s identifies as a Welsh farmer, he also founded his own bioresearch firm in 2012. Known as Agroceutical, he is hoping that Big Pharma companies will back the mass-production of the drug. Currently, he can only produce enough galantamine to treat around 9,000 patients per year.

Today, he owns fields that are located more than 1,000 feet above sea level. Focusing on the ideal daffodils to grow, it was found that around a dozen of the 30,000 varieties yield the right genetics. Mr. Stephens is confident that he and his team can grow galantamine cheaper and more sustainably than China.

The issue is, they are not at the point where they can produce mass amounts. They need to get a contract in place, but in order to do so, they need to show that they can produce thousands of kilos. It is kind of a catch-22.

With that being said, the company did receive £850,000 from the investment company, Finance Wales in 2008. And although this has supported Mr. Stephen’s efforts, he believes that a £2 million investment is now needed to scale production. This would allow him to produce 2,2000 pounds of galantamine per year — the equivalent of helping 225,000 patients.

As of now, he will not be planting additional hundreds of acres of daffodils until a drug firm confirms their involvement. His current supply is being stored until he is able to sell it.

What About Dietary Choline?

Choline is a B-group vitamin that humans must consume through dietary sources. Yeast, meat, and eggs are all great sources. Not only does this essential compound support cell membranes, but is also a precursor of acetylcholine — the neurotransmitter discussed above.

Since a decline in cholinergic neurons is associated with cognitive impairment, researchers were interested in the relationship between dietary choline intake, brain morphology, and cognitive function. What they found was that a higher concurrent choline intake resulted in better cognitive performance. In comparison, higher remote intake was not.

For more information on current treatment options, please refer to:

Krista Hillis has a B.A.Sc degree, specializing in neuroscience and psychology. She is actively involved in the mental health and caregiving community, aiming to help others. Krista is also passionate about nutrition and the ways in which lifestyle choices affect and influence the human brain.

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