Medically Reviewed by Dr. K on 22 October 2021
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Can Vitamins and Supplements Really Help Prevent Alzheimers Disease
When you or anyone you care for has Alzheimer’s disease, you might be willing to do something to cure it to prevent it from getting worse. Since there is no cure and just a limited variety of medications authorized, you might be considering what vitamins and supplements can do for you.
Without a doubt: From head to toe, good nutrition is important. However, no vitamins or supplements have been shown to prevent, stop, or delay the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
The foods you consume have an effect on your brain’s wellbeing, and they’re the greatest source of nutrients. If you’d like to try supplements, talk to a doctor first to make sure they won’t cause any complications or interact with any other medications you’re taking.
These nutrients shield the body from molecules known as “free radicals," which trigger cell damage which can contribute to cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer's disease.
Beta-carotene, vitamins C and E, and resveratrol are only a few sources of antioxidants. Plant foods including berries, greens, tea, and bell peppers contain high levels of antioxidants.
As we mature, free radicals appear to accumulate in nerve cells. Oxidative stress has been discovered in the brains of Alzheimer's patients, suggesting that the body has been attempting to counteract free radical trauma. Using more antioxidants in your diet would appear to be beneficial.
But, for the time being, there is no simple solution.
While the antioxidant link is a hot topic in Alzheimer's research, all agree that further research is required. Researchers aren't sure if some antioxidants are safer than others, although it's likely that getting the antioxidants from food rather than supplements is a better option.
This antioxidant can be found in red berries, red wine, nuts, and dark chocolate. Some scientists believe it has anti-aging properties and may reduce the chances of developing such diseases.
For a long time, scientists have believed that resveratrol may protect the brain from the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. New research found that taking resveratrol on a normal basis slowed the progression of the disorder.
The research is encouraging, but it does not show that resveratrol is effective in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. The participants in the sample were given a very high dosage of resveratrol that isn't widely available; one gram of it produces the same amount of resveratrol as 1,000 bottles of red wine. However, the researchers of the study claim that resveratrol is safe to take if you have Alzheimer's disease.
Furthermore, researchers would evaluate a large number of studies before drawing any conclusions. Besides that, some literature suggests that a resveratrol-rich diet might not always be beneficial to one's well-being. Discuss with your doctor if you are considering taking it.
Vitamin D has a number of functions, one of which is to aid the brain. Vitamin D is obtained mostly from the sun and foods such as fatty fish, cheese, and egg yolks. It's also sold as a supplement over the counter.
There is a link between vitamin D and Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's patients have insufficient vitamin D amounts, according to some studies. According to one study, individuals with extremely poor vitamin D levels are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's disease.
But there's still a lot to learn about the connection between vitamin D and Alzheimer's disease. We don't know whether a lack of vitamin D contributes to Alzheimer's disease. We also don't know whether vitamin D will help cure or avoid cancer.
Before physicians start administering vitamin D for Alzheimer's, a lot more research needs to be conducted. The Alzheimer's Drug Development Organization, on the other hand, finds it to be “very safe" to consume as a supplement. Vitamin D is available over the counter as a supplement without a doctor’s prescription.
You may have heard about Ginkgo Biloba as a memory aid — and perhaps as something that may support you with Alzheimer's disease. Over the years, scholars have researched it. However, they are yet to see sufficient evidence that it enhances cognition in individuals who do not have Alzheimer's disease.
Other side effects of ginkgo have been documented, including bleeding, low blood sugar, and changes in blood pressure. Discuss with your doctor if you are considering taking it.
Referenced on 2.3.2021:
- Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation.
- Woztunik-Kulesza, K. Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy, March 2016.
- Turner, S. Neurology, published online Sept. 11, 2015.
- Georgetown University Medical Center.
- Soni, M. Scandinavian Journal of Clinical and Laboratory Investigation, 2012.
- Miller, J. Journal of the American Medical Association, Neurology, 2015.
- Littlejohns, T. Neurology, published online Aug. 6, 2014.
- Mayo Clinic: “Ginkgo biloba: Can it prevent memory loss?” “Safety.”
- National Institutes of Health, NIH Director’s Blog: “Revisiting Resveratrol’s Health Claims.”