Nine Lifestyle Factors Shown to be Responsible for 35% of Dementia Cases: And other dietary, nutrient and lifestyle factors can reduce risk further and even reverse early memory loss problems (mild cognitive dysfunction)
Lifestyle Medicine Update (July 27, 2017)
A report presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference on July 20, 2017, and simultaneously published in The Lancet (2017) showed that nine lifestyle factors are responsible for 35% of all case of dementia worldwide.
The nine factors that increase the risk of Dementia include:
- Not completing secondary education early in life
- High blood pressure
- Obesity in midlife
- Hearing loss in midlife
- Physical Inactivity
- Social Isolation
- Diabetes in later life
This study was not able to include dietary factors, alcohol use, visual impairment, air pollution, or sleep practices. So, the contribution of lifestyle is probably quite a bit more than 35%, as indicated by one of the researchers. With respect to the influence of specific nutrients and cognitive function, quite coincidentally, a scientific review of the top ingredients for cognition, focus and mood were published on July 14, 2017, by NUTRA ingredients-usa.com The review highlights the research showing evidence that the following nutrients help to preserve memory and/or focus. Some nutrients can even improve mood. For instance, a 2015 meta-analysis showed clear benefits of omega-3 fat consumption to cognitive health and a clinical trial showing that daily DHA doses over 1 gram per day improved some aspects of cognitive function in older adults. As well, some studies have shown that omega-3 fat supplementation is also a good complement to drug therapy in the treatment of depression.
The supplement known as Phosphatidylserine is also of interest as some studies show that it benefits dementia or cognitive dysfunction in the elderly. In the U.S. the FDA allows this statement for Phosphatidylserine supplements,“ very limited and preliminary scientific research suggests that phosphatidylserine may reduce the risk of dementia/cognitive dysfunction in the elderly”
CDP-choline supplements have also been shown to reverse early stage cognitive decline by increasing brain levels of choline. Choline is used to make the memory chemical acetylcholine, which typically declines with age.CDP-choline and phosphatidylserine show promise in helping to preserve choline and acetylcholine levels in the brain as we age.
B-vitamin Supplementation (especially folic acid, vitamin B12, vitamin B6 and vitamin B3-niacin) have been shown to benefit brain health in some studies and to slow the age-related shrinking or atrophy of the brain. Some of the B-vitamins also lower homocysteine, which is a damaging chemical that is linked to Alzheimer’s disease development.
Some studies suggest that supplementation with the antioxidants, vitamin C, and vitamin E may help reduce the risk of cognitive impairment. More recently nutrients such as lutein and magnesium have shown promise in preventing age-related cognitive decline as well.
In India, a common treatment for early stage memory loss is the herb known as Bacopa Monnier, which has shown impressive results when tested against dementia medications. The adaptogen herb Ashwagandha has also shown promise in preliminary research as a supplement that can reverse mild cognitive impairment.The same is true for melatonin supplementation (3-9 mg one hour before bedtime).
The prevention of dementia also entails keeping your blood cholesterol in the ideal range to prevent cerebrovascular disease, whereby the blood vessels in your brain get clogged up with cholesterol. That’s never a good thing, of course. Of course, avoiding head injuries and head trauma is also important in preventing dementia-type problems over your lifetime.
So, the bottom line is that diet and lifestyle are key factors in the prevention of dementia and many cases of Alzheimer’s disease. I encourage you to be proactive and protect your brain, use your brain and feed your brain the nutrients that help to keep it healthy and functional.
I’ve included a link to the cited research in the text below.
Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great
Dr. James Meschino
DC, MS, ROHP
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. James Meschino is an associate professor in the division of physiology and biochemistry at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, where he has taught nutrition and biochemistry since 1984. He has also taught the second and third nutrition courses at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine and has been a faculty member of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine and the American Council on Exercise (ACE). Dr Meschino has authored four nutrition/wellness/anti-aging books, and is the principal educator for the Global Integrative Medicine Academy (www.gim-academy.com). Dr. Meschino has lectured extensively throughout North America and is the formulator for Adeeva Nutritionals Canada Inc – a professional line of supplements dispensed by many healthcare practitioners and natural health product retailers (www.adeevainfo.com).