Alzheimer’s and dementia are two of the most pressing health issues in the world, yet there is little evidence that common treatment methods work. Does that mean that the health of your brain faces an inevitable outcome?
Thankfully, the answer is no.
First, the bad news: a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggested that two of the most commonly prescribed medications for Alzheimer’s did not work and could potentially worsen brain function.
Now the good: it does not mean you are out of options. There is a significant amount of research showing that certain lifestyle factors can drastically reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.
- Pay Attention to What You’re Eating: A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease showed that people getting the majority of daily calories from carbohydrates can increase the risk mild cognitive impairment or full-blown dementia by 89-percent. This echoes other studies that have shown links between blood sugar and Alzheimer’s risk. On the other hand, the same study showed a 44-percent risk reduction in people who ate the most dietary fat! Therefore, swapping refined carbohydrates (especially) for healthy fats may play a massive role in Alzheimer’s risk. Trying to keep net carb intake between 30–50g per day and getting a selection of healthy fats from olive oil, nuts, seeds, and fish is a decent strategy.
- Daily Exercise: Several studies have also indicated the importance of aerobic exercise in Alzheimer’s prevention. Walking, jogging, cycling, or using an elliptical machine may all help if you’re getting the right dose. Aiming for about 30-minutes per day, at a moderate-to-vigorous pace, may be most beneficial for brain health.
- Some Supplementation: Some supplements may contribute to brain health, but only if you’re deficient. There is research indicating an association between inadequate vitamin D and Alzheimer’s, so supplementing might be useful if you’re short. Naturally, vitamin D is found in fish, eggs, and fortified foods, but the best source is sunlight. Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation (fish oil) may also be beneficial in Alzheimer’s prevention if you’re not eating at least a 3-oz serving of fatty fish twice per week.
So far, it appears like medical and pharmaceutical treatment is largely ineffective in containing and preventing Alzheimer’s. But lifestyle measures can work. Focusing on what you can control is the best way to potentially maintain health and give yourself the opportunity for a brighter future.