PILLAR 1: DIET & SUPPLEMENTS
Your brain is a flesh and blood organ and needs the proper fuel to function well. Building a better memory, preventing Alzheimer's and memory loss, and impacting the causes of Alzheimer’s disease all depend on your lifestyle. Your diet is critical to your brain’s health. And with the proper Alzheimer's diet, you can actually influence the health of your genes. That’s right—prevention is within your reach and it starts with the foods you put in your body!
Discover the Alzheimer’s Prevention Diet
One of the best ways you can feed your brain for better memory is by avoiding a diet high in trans-fat and saturated fat. These fats, such as those from animal products (especially red meats), can cause inflammation as well as produce free radicals. As you probably know, free radicals are a normal by-product of your metabolism, but in high quantities, they can damage and even kill your valuable brain cells.
Eating foods that are high in antioxidants like vitamins C and E is a wonderful natural way to eliminate free radicals from your body. In a similar way, scientists believe that a vast intake of fruits and vegetables, eating fish rich in omega-3 oils and vegetarian protein substitutes (such as soy) are protective against memory loss.
In addition to your renewed Alzheimer's diet, read on to find out more about the best vitamins and nutrients to aid your memory and avoid Alzheimer’s disease early symptoms.
The ideal prevention diet breaks down like this:
- 20% “good” fats. Items in this group include extra virgin olive oil, avocado, and flax seed oil
- 40% lean proteins. Look to include fish, chicken, turkey, and soy on a daily basis.
- 40% complex carbohydrates. Discover the rewards of a rainbow of fresh vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and fresh fruits.
- Superfoods for the brain - as much as you want! These superfoods, including blueberries, spinach, and seaweed, have fabulous antioxidant properties preventing causes of Alzheimer’s.
Be Sure to Take Your Vitamins and Memory-Specific Nutrients
If you’re serious about the prevention of Alzheimer's and improving memory loss, you should definitely take a high potency multiple vitamin and mineral capsule. Be sure the vitamin formula you choose contains folic acid and vitamin C. Folic acid reduces homocysteine levels—high homocysteine levels put you at risk for both heart disease and memory loss. Vitamin C has been shown to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 20% when taken with vitamin E. To take advantage of its fullest benefits, you should take a dose of 2,000 mg of vitamin C per day.
When you create a balanced diet that puts your overall wellbeing at the forefront, you’re not only doing good for your body, but you’re also supporting and enhancing your memory as well.
Consider including the following memory-specific nutrients in your daily vitamin plan:
- coenzyme Q10
- alpha lipoic acid
- ginkgo biloba
- DHA (an omega-3 oil)
Two additional nutrients are recommended only for people who have moderate to severe memory loss:
Discover our latest research update in the Summer 2014 White Paper.
Clin Nutr. 2012 Aug 31. pii: S0261-5614(12)00169-0. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2012.08.002.
[Epub ahead of print]
The Mediterranean diet improves the systemic lipid and DNA oxidative damage in metabolic syndrome individuals. A randomized, controlled, trial.
Mitjavila MT, Fandos M, Salas-Salvadó J, Covas MI, Borrego S, Estruch R, Lamuela-Raventós R, Corella D, Martínez-Gonzalez MA, Sánchez JM, Bulló M, Fitó M,Tormos C, Cerdá C, Casillas R, Moreno JJ, Iradi A, Zaragoza C, Chaves J, Sáez GT.
Ann Neurol. 2006 Jun;59(6):912-21.
Mediterranean diet and risk for Alzheimer's disease.
Scarmeas N, Stern Y, Tang MX, Mayeux R, Luchsinger JA.
Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2010 Jan;13(1):14-8. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e3283331fe4.
Mediterranean diet and cognitive function in older adults.
Féart C, Samieri C, Barberger-Gateau P.
Oyama Y, Chikahisa L, Ueha T, Kanemaru K, Noda K. Ginkgo biloba extract protects brain neurons against oxidative stress induced by hydrogen peroxide. Brain Res 1996;712:349-52.
Oken BS, Storzbach DM, Kaye JA. The efficacy of Ginkgo biloba on cognitive function in Alzheimer disease. Arch Neurol 1998;55:1409-15.
Itil TM, Eralp E, Ahmed I, Kunitz A, Itil KZ. The pharmacological effects of ginkgo biloba, a plant extract, on the brain of dementia patients in comparison with tacrine. Psychopharmacol Bull 1998;34:391-7.
Crook TH, Tinklenberg J, Yesavage J, Petrie W, Nunzi MG, Massari DC. Effects of phosphatidylserine in age-associated memory impairment. Neurology 1991;41:644-9.
Swanson D, Block R, Mousa SA. Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA: health benefits throughout life. Adv Nutr. 2012 Jan;3(1):1-7. doi: 10.3945/an.111.000893. Epub 2012 Jan 5.
Palmieri G, Palmieri R, Inzoli MR, et al. Double-blind controlled trial of phosphatidylserine in patients with senile mental deterioration. Clin Trials J 1987;24:73-83.
Funfgeld EW, Baggen M, Nedwidek P, et al. Double-blind study with phosphatidylserine (PS) in parkinsonian patients with senile dementia of Alzheimer's type (SDAT). Prog Clin Biol Res 1989;317:1235-46.
Miyanaga K, Ynoemura K, Takagi T, et al. Clinical effects of DHA in demented patients. J Clin Ther Med 1995;11:881-901.
Conquer JA, Tierney MC, Zecevic J, Bettger WJ, Fisher RH. Fatty acid analysis of blood plasma of patients with Alzheimer's disease, other types of dementia, and cognitive impairment. Lipids 2000;35:1305-12.
Kalmijn S, Feskens EJ, Launer LJ, Kromhout D. Polyunsaturated fatty acids, antioxidants, and cognitive function in very old men. Am J Epidemiol 1997;145:33-41.
Simopolous AP, Leaf A, Salem N Jr. Essentiality of and recommended dietary intakes for omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Ann Nutr Metab 1999;43: 127-130.
Beyer RE. The role of ascorbate in antioxidant protection of biomembranes: Interaction with vitamin E and coenzyme Q. J Bioenerg Biomembr 1994;26:349-358.
Chen H, Tappel AL. Vitamin E, selenium, trolox C, ascorbic acid palmitate, acetylcysteine, coenzyme Q, b-carotene, canthaxanthin, and (+)-catechin protect against oxidative damage to kidney, heart, lung and spleen. Free Radic Res 1995;22:177-186.
Ernster L, Dallner G. Biochemical, physiological and medical aspects of ubiquinone function. Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis 1995;1271:195-204.
Folkers K, Littarru GP, Yamagami Y, Eds. Biochemical and Clinical Aspects of Coenzyme Q10, Vol 6. Elsevier Science Publishers, 1991.
ALPHA LIPOIC ACID
Nagamatsu M, Nickander KK, Schmelzer JD, et al. Lipoic acid improves nerve blood flow, reduces oxidative stress, and improves distal nerve conduction in experimental diabetic neuropathy. Diabetes Care 1995;18:1160-1167.
Ou P, Tritschler HJ, Wolff SP. Thioctic (lipoic) acid: A therapeutic metalchelating antioxidant. Biochem Pharmacol 1995;50:123-126.
Packer L, Witt EH, Tritschler HJ. Alpha-lipoic acid as a biological antioxidant. Free Radic Biol Med 1995;19:227-250.
Wollschlaeger B. Efficacy of vinpocetine in the management of cognitive impairment and memory loss. JANA. 2001;4:25-30.
Szatmari SZ, Whitehouse PJ. Vinpocetine for cognitive impairment and dementia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2003;1:CD003119.
Balestreri R, Fontana L, Astengo F. A double-blind placebo controlled evaluation of the safety and efficacy of Vinpocetine in the treatment of patients with chronic vascular senile cerebral dysfunction. J Am Geriatr Soc 1987;35:425-430.
National Institute on Aging; Georgetown University Medical Center. A multi-center, double-blind, placebo-controlled, therapeutic trial to determine whether natural Huperzine A improves cognitive function. ClinicalTrials.gov. Washington (D.C.): 2008 Feb [cited 2010 Jan 4].
Li J, Wu HM, Zhou RL, et al. Huperzine A for Alzheimer’s disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008 Apr 16;(2):CD005592.
Zhang Z, Wang X, Chen Q, et al. Clinical efficacy and safety of huperzine Alpha in treatment of mild to moderate Alzheimer disease, a placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized trial. Zhonghua Yi Xue Za Zhi. 2002 Jul 25;82(14):941-4.