How To Prevent Dementia and Alzheimer’s [3 Powerful Nutrients]

Believe it or not, there are nutritional ways to prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s. I ran into a recent study regarding three nutrients postulated to prevent cognitive decline. Originally, I was searching for studies on Omega 3 fatty acids and found this fascinating study on NCBI, National Center for Biotechnology Information, the US repository for research studies from around the world. I get most of my data from there. That way we know it’s legitimate information. How to prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s is deeply affected by diet and nutrition.

how to prevent dementia and alzheimersYes, there are additional things you need to do for preventing dementia and Alzheimer’s (sleep, exercise, being mindful, choline and other supplements), but without these three nutrients, the additional factors won’t help as much. They are the pillar of the strategy.

Anyway, three nutrients were studied in a large group of older adults at risk for dementia. The study was conducted with people living in assisted living communities, all over age 70, and all had at least one risk factor for cognitive decline. The study was based in France and Monaco. The criteria for participants were they had complained to their doctor of memory issues, had a limitation in one aspect of daily living, or slow gait speed, i.e. it takes more than 5 seconds to walk 4 meters.

This seems a pretty good group to test potential help for cognitive decline. 712 people participated. The nutrients tested were Omega 3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA), Vitamin D, and Vitamin B complex for reducing homocysteine. We’ll talk about homocysteine in a minute. The scientists only included people who were not previously using Omega 3’s as a supplement. So let’s see what they found…

The Basics of the Study

The researchers divided the participants into four groups. Part of the treatment included education on cognitive training, nutritional counseling, and physical activity. Multiple classes took place regarding these subjects. One group participated in the classes and were given a placebo. Another group participated in the classes and used supplements. The third group didn’t have the training but were given supplements. And the fourth group had no training and were given placebos (so no intervention at all). research

The researchers followed these groups for more than three years. Those given training continued with followup classes during the study. In addition, neuropsychological assessments were conducted with the participants.

They chose Omega 3s, Vitamin D, and measuring homocysteine (reduced by B Vitamins) because they have known actions in regard to brain health.

What Is Homocysteine?

Homocysteine is a naturally occurring amino acid found in blood plasma. High levels of homocysteine in the blood are believed to increase the chance of heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and osteoporosis.

Medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com

doctor
High levels of homocysteine can lead to brain and heart disease.

The definition goes on to describe homocysteine as a sulfur-containing amino acid which is broken down by folic acid and Vitamins B6 and B12. It is thought that homocysteine irritates the lining of blood vessels causing them to become scarred, hardened and narrowed. This makes it harder for the heart to do its job and can cause heart disease. High levels can also cause blood clots. With narrowed arteries and potential blood clots, it’s easy to see how this could affect brain function. 

Certain drugs increase levels of homocysteine like cholesterol-lowering drugs, metformin for diabetes, nitrous oxide (laughing gas), levadopa, methotraxate, and androgen treatment. Doctors don’t normally test for high homocysteine unless they are suspecting heart disease.

B Complex is a must supplement, keeping homocysteine in control for the prevention of cognitive decline but also for heart health.

Back to the Study

Scientists tested the participants at the beginning of the study and found that 80% of these folks had some nutritional risk factor. 40% had multiple risk factors in regard to Omega 3s, Vitamin D and B-Complex. During the 3-year study, those who had optimal nutritional status in the beginning (20%) gained cognitive enhancement with these three supplements. Those who were taking placebos and no training showed an incremental rate of cognitive decline, more so with each of these three nutrients they were deficient in.
 
Their findings were that these three nutritional ingredients work best together to reduce cognitive decline. The authors stated that more studies like this need to happen in the future, using more than one factor or nutrient as a basis for answers. They hope that this and other studies will help establish nutritional requirements for healthy brain aging. 
 

Why Omega 3s and Vitamin D?

Omega 3s can actually promote neurogenesis (the formation of new nerve and brain cells) and have an anti-inflammatory effect in the body and brain. DHA and EPA specifically help the brain. You might want to read my article on DHA for the Brain for more information about Omega 3s. 
 
Vitamin D capsuleVitamin D helps to moderate immune function and inflammation. It’s actually considered a prohormone because it interacts with other hormones like testosterone, estrogen and human growth hormone. Vitamin D also affects over 1,000 genes and every cell in our bodies. Low Vitamin D levels are associated with cognitive decline, too. 
 
Having enough Vitamin D in our bodies prevents a lot of illnesses. It is even related to cancer prevention. You might want to read my article: Side Effects of Low Vitamin D for more information. The recommended dose is 1,000 IUs per 25 pounds of body weight.
 

Where We Are Now

Omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin D3 and B vitamins have a unique relationship in cognitive health. The researchers did say that the results were remarkable in the cognitive function among the groups. It was evident there was a difference between the placebo groups and the supplement groups. One comment I noted was they only had participants who were unaware of the health benefits of Omega 3s in the beginning. 
 
It seems obvious that supplementing with Omega 3s, Vitamin D and B vitamins is crucial to brain health. Don’t wait to start protecting your brain now! I’ll include some links to make it easier for you.

 

 

 

Thank you for reading How to Prevent Dementia and Alzheimer’s today. If you have any questions, comments or experience you’d like to share, please post it in the Comments section below. Thank you!

 

References: 

Bowman, G. L., Dodge, H. H., Guyonnet, S., Zhou, N., Donohue, J., Bichsel, A., … MAPT/DSA Study Group (2019). A blood-based nutritional risk index explains cognitive enhancement and decline in the multidomain Alzheimer prevention trial. Alzheimer’s & dementia (New York, N. Y.)5, 953–963. doi:10.1016/j.trci.2019.11.004

“homocysteine.” The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary. 2007. Houghton Mifflin Company 12 Jan. 2020 https://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/homocysteine

 

14 thoughts on “How To Prevent Dementia and Alzheimer’s [3 Powerful Nutrients]”

  1. I am so happy I came across your article. With lots of dementia in my family, this is always a concern of mine. I am happy to see some simple supplements that can be taken that just might help. I am already taking vitamin D, but did not realize that I should be taking 1,000 iu per 25 lbs, so now I know that I need to up the dose. With so many over the counter options, it is hard to pick which to use. Do you have a preference on a brand for vitamin D? I have always stuck with Nature Made.

    Reply
    • Hi Ashley. It is surprising how much more Vitamin D we actually need than the dosages in a lot of brands. Nature Made is fine. The brand featured is MRM which comes from Vitacost. I also like Life Extension brand a lot. Thanks for reading and adding your comment and question.

      Reply
  2. As someone who’s father suffered some dementia near his death I am glad to see reports like this that share solid information on how maybe other members of my family including myself can avoid such a horrible disorder that robs one of their mental capacities and makes them dependent on caregivers with very little quality of life. My dad would go from lucid to somewhere lost in space in 0.006 seconds and there was never any warning of a spell. He couldn’t focus on anything he loved including my children who adored him.

    Reply
    • So sorry to hear about your father. The same happened to my mother. Thank you for reading and commenting today. I’m glad you found the information. 

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  3. I’m going to forward this to a friend of mine who’s mom has Alzheimer’s.  I find it interesting that, like so many other things, both nutrition and the extra nutrient pills both played a role in cognitive awareness.  We’ve been hearing now for years that Omega 3s are good for us but if they can help with the cognitive functions of Alzheimer’s patients, what could they do for a person without this disease.  Hmmmm…  I think I’m going to start NOW!

    Reply
    • Isn’t that the truth! It’s a preventive measure so please do try these supplements, at a minimum. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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  4. I don’t have any family history of Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease but my girlfriend has. So, we’re pretty much concern on how to prevent these two illnesses from happening to her that’s why we’re searching for preventive ways we can read online. Thanks for these tips, and starting today, I’ll encourage to take a regular dose of Vitamin D, Vitamin B, and Omega 3. Since we can’t have all these through our regular diet, then we have to buy supplements from your recommended sites. Lastly, I’d like to ask, can we take all these three in one take? Aren’t there any drug interactions between the three supplements?

    Reply
    • I’m glad you found my article and site. Yes, you can take them together. They don’t interact in a bad way. It’s all good. Thanks for reading and visiting.

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  5. Hi Paula,

    I think Dementia and Alzheimer’s are very emotional disease that strike the family as a whole, I remember when my Grandfather stopped recognizing my father which took a heavy toll on the whole family.

    In my opinion, the combination of Omega 3 and Vitamin D looks quite powerful as per your research and more awareness should be spread in this regard.

    Omega 3 has been a rising star for the past few years, with many studies showcasing its unlimited number of health benefits and today It was a first for me to see how can it can also affect Dementia and Alzheimer’s.

    Thanks a million for the eye-opening article!

    Reply
    • Thanks for reading! They are very emotional diseases. It’s devastating to watch an intelligent person go downhill and become a shadow of what they once were. 

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  6. I have read previously, about the numerous benefits that comes with the omega 3 fatty acid. So it is really no surprise to find that those benefits also include the formation of new nerve and brain cells. Now according to your findings, omega 3s, vitamin D and vitamin B complex are all needed to reduce cognitive decline. Are there other worthy alternative vitamins that can guarantee the same result?

    Reply
  7. I must admit that these nutrients are lacking in my diet, I appreciate your advice. I try to get sunlight every day and that helps clear my head, but Omega 3s and Vitamin supplements are helpful. This article is a great reminder that I should think more about the nutrients that support my proper brain function, especially since I am recovering from a mental illness. Thank you for sharing your expertise. ~ Elaine

    Reply
    • Absolutely. Nutrients can really help your brain work better. I can attest to that. These three nutrients are a good place to start. Then you can add more depending on what you are working on. Thanks so much for commenting.

      Reply

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