Our brains are flesh and blood organs that require proper fuel to function properly. Therefore, you can build a better memory, prevent Alzheimer’s and memory loss, and control the causes of Alzheimer’s disease by changing your lifestyle and taking vitamins to prevent dementia.
When we talk about supplements to prevent dementia, we mean to say that proper nutrition may have a more significant role in delaying Alzheimer’s and dementia onset than we generally assume.
Due to the fact that after the age of 65, the risk of Alzheimer’s diagnosis doubled, adopting different ways to prevent the disease became more prominent. In this regard, several scientific researchers focused on using supplements to prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s.
The scientists claimed that regular consumption of some specific supplements and certain food and vegetables could retard Alzheimer’s onset. This article introduces some supplements that can help prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Including Antioxidants and Vitamins that Help Prevent Dementia: Can It Really Make a Difference?
You must have a healthy diet to maintain a healthy brain. Moreover, you can improve your genes’ health by eating the proper Alzheimer’s diet. It’s true—prevention starts with what you eat! If you think you have a vitamin deficiency, keep reading to realize why you need to change your diet.
Keeping your diet low in trans fats and saturated fats is one of the best ways to feed your brain for better memory. The fats in animal products (especially red meat) can cause inflammation and produce free radicals.
Antioxidant-rich foods, such as vitamins C and E, are also excellent ways to eliminate free radicals naturally. Scientists also believe that a high intake of fruits and vegetables, eating fish rich in omega-3 fats, and eating vegetarian protein substitutes (such as soy) can protect against memory loss.
Supplements to Prevent Dementia
Although there’s no certainty in saying that any particular nutritional components and supplements prevent Alzheimer’s, some evidence shows that dietary regimens and nutritional supplements can delay the onset of the disease. Here we introduce some essential supplements to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
Vitamins to Prevent Alzheimer’s and Dementia
As humans, our bodies need 13 essential vitamins to function normally. Some of these vitamins play an important role in chemical reactions in the brain. The most critical vitamin deficiencies potentially leading to worsening dementia symptoms are vitamins B, D, and C. As dementia progresses and comes with nutritional deficiencies, it is vital to ensure you consume enough of these vitamins for your brain health.
Vitamins for Alzheimer’s Prevention: B Complex and Folic Acid
Vitamin B complex is a group of vitamins that includes vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, and B12. In this group, vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid are specifically crucial since research shows that both can slow down the effects of dementia.
More precisely, scientific studies showed that vitamin B complex vitamins affect specific genes contributing to cognitive impairment. Adequate folate or folic acid and vitamin B in diet or as a supplement can enhance the genes and inhibits cognitive impairment and the progress of dementia.
There are no reports of adverse effects associated with excessive vitamin B12 and B6 in healthy individuals. However, vitamin B12 can potentially interact with specific medications. In addition, consuming 1 to 6 g of pyridoxine per day for 12 to 40 months may lead to severe and progressive sensory neuropathy (loss of control of body movements). Other excessive vitamin effects include pain, disfiguring, photosensitivity, and gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea and heartburn.
Best Vitamins to Prevent Dementia: Vitamin C
No one can deny the importance of vitamin C for the human body. It can act as an antioxidant to fight harmful substances in the body and promote metabolism and the immune system. A group of scientists experimented with the effects of consuming vitamin C and dementia disease.
Since oxidative stress has a prominent role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease, daily intake of vitamin C as an antioxidant in individuals with mild dementia may prevent the onset of dementia.
You can take vitamin C by consuming fresh vegetables or use vitamin C supplements in the form of capsules and tablets. Taking a dose of 2000 mg of vitamin C per day can be helpful to see its benefits.
Vitamin D for Alzheimer’s Prevention
D is among the essential vitamins to prevent Alzheimer’s. Several studies showed that people with Alzheimer’s have low vitamin D levels, which causes them to be twice as likely to have Alzheimer’s disease.
In a study, scientists found that the risk of dementia in people with 25 nmol/L of vitamin D in their blood (a low amount of the vitamin) is higher than in people with a normal vitamin D level (50 nmol/L).
Vitamin D contributes to precognitive and neuroprotective functions and the reduction of like amyloid plaques and Alzheimer’s biomarkers.
You can take vitamin D from food, absorbing through exposure to sunlight, or consuming supplements. Food sources rich in vitamin D include cod liver oil, salmon, tuna fish, red meat, and egg yolk, and the daily recommended vitamin D dose is 20 µg. The excessive vitamin D in the body may cause too much calcium to build up (hypercalcemia), consequently weakening bones and damaging the kidneys and heart.
Natural Remedies for Dementia
Your diet is critical to brain health, and the prevention of Alzheimer’s can start with the foods you consume.
Fish Oil for Dementia Prevention
Fish and fish oil containing omega-3 may reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Omega-3 is fat in oily fishes such as mackerel, tuna, herring, and salmon. Brain cell membranes with a high level of omega-3 can more effectively communicate with other cells. However, in general, after absorption of omega-3 molecules in the body, it is broken down into molecules that:
- Reduce the body’s immune response.
- protect cells from harmful processes (oxidative stress)
- contribute to cell membranes in the brain.
Studies showed mixed results regarding omega-3. A research study on consuming omega-3 and cognitive impairment in older adults showed that a higher intake of omega-3 could lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and fetal coronary heart disease.
Also, a high level of omega-3 in the brain cells could significantly reduce beta amyloids, plaques, and tau (Alzheimer’s biomarkers) in Alzheimer’s disease models.
Another study suggested that consuming omega-3 and EPA (a kind of beneficial fatty acid) showed a positive effect in individuals with mild or age-related cognitive impairment. On the other hand, these supplements in individuals with established Alzheimer’s disease had no impact.
Some scientists believe this study needs more time to show the positive effect of omega-3 on the human body. In general, there is more evidence-based recommendation on fish and fish oil intake to promote memory function during old age.
Ginkgo Biloba for Alzheimer’s Prevention
Ginko Biloba is a plant native to China. For centuries people have used this plant as food and traditional medicine. The extract of aerial parts of this plant contains bioactive compounds which are beneficial for body functions.
However, there are controversial results for the ginkgo Biloba effect on dementia patients. Some scientific reports and analyses indicate that ginkgo Biloba extract is ineffective for dementia. But a systematic review study in 2016 reported that ginkgo Biloba could potentially be beneficial for enhancing cognitive function and activities for daily living in people with mild cognitive impairments or Alzheimer’s disease.
Another systematic review also showed that consuming 240 mg of the ginkgo Biloba product (EGb-761) per day could stabilize or slow the decline in cognition, function, and behaviour in individuals with cognitive impairment and dementia, especially people with neuropsychiatric symptoms.
Keep in mind that excessive ginkgo Biloba supplements may result in headaches, nausea, gastrointestinal upset, diarrhea, dizziness, and allergic skin reaction, and in severe conditions, it can increase the risk of bleeding.
Cinnamon is a well-known spice with a wide range of health benefits. Evidence suggests that cinnamon has an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect and can positively affect Alzheimer’s disease through gene expression. In addition, cinnamon extract can significantly and safely inhibit tau protein accumulation and beta-amyloid aggregation in brain cells. Cinnamon may also have a protective effect on healthy energy metabolism in the brain.
Turmeric and its main bioactive component, curcumin, have a great anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effect on the human body, directly affecting amyloid aggregation and decreasing brain plaques. This spice has been used in traditional medicine in India for thousands of years. The results of preclinical studies in 2019 showed the beneficial effect of curcumin on cognition in Alzheimer’s disease.
In addition, curcumin may prevent cognitive decline in healthy populations. In another analysis of 96 healthy older adults, scientists found that curcumin had a limited influence on cognitive function, mood, and general quality of life over 12 months. Curcumin is considered safe for most adults. However, high-dose consumption and long-term use may lead to problems like indigestion, nausea, or diarrhea.
Other Nutritional Supplements to Prevent Dementia
Research shows that people with Alzheimer’s may face an increased risk of nutrition deficiencies. The clinical studies showed that the following nutrients can potentially protect the brain and nervous system or may even help to regrow new nerve cells. Below are some supplements to prevent dementia.
Tryptophan is a critical amino acid for brain health, and some research shows that people with dementia have difficulty absorbing tryptophan. The low tryptophan level in the body may cause trouble with memory and impaired cognitive function in dementia patients.
It is noteworthy that the body also uses tryptophan to build serotonin, a neurotransmitter, and melatonin, an asleep cycle hormone; therefore, tryptophan is essential for a healthy mental state. Foods that contain tryptophan include cheese, chicken, egg whites, fish milk, etc.
Acetyl L-Carnitine and Acetylcholine
This compound act as a processor of acetylcholine. Acetylcholine in the body is used as a chemical compound to communicate between brain cells and has an essential role in working memory. So, its deficiency may be related to dementia. Findings showed that people with dementia have significant deficiencies in tryptophan, fatty acids, and acetylcholine levels. Foods enriched in carnitine include beef, chicken, milk, cheese, etc.
Magnesium is a mineral that plays a vital role in body function and the nervous system. This mineral can improve dementia symptoms, reduce anxiety, and increase sleep quality. Magnesium is present in various nutrients, including dark green leafy vegetables, almonds, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, etc.
Probiotic is a group of microbes that play an essential role in the human body. These microbes help the body absorb nutrients properly. According to clinical research, this influences cognitive health and helps with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. The presence of these microflorae may contribute to the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Probiotics are found in yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, sourdough bread, and some cheeses.
Among the most abundant trace metals in the brain is zinc, which has both health-promoting and disease-preventing properties.
For the body and the brain to function properly, zinc is essential. In older adults, zinc levels tend to be low, especially in those with Alzheimer’s disease. It is possible to enhance cognitive function and memory with a zinc supplement of 30 to 40 mg each day.
To guarantee no possible interference with your existing medications, consult your healthcare provider before starting on any new supplement or vitamins to prevent Alzheimer’s.
While the possibility of preventing Alzheimer’s with supplements is still the subject of negotiation among many experts, one thing is certain. Supplements help you stay healthy. And a healthy mind belongs to a healthy body. Please note that we’re not suggesting that supplements can miraculously destroy all chances of developing dementia. We’re saying that they can help you stay healthy for as long as possible since they help delay or slow down the development of Alzheimer’s.