Published on September 27, 2023
This review of research and short, animated video help create a better understanding of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease causes, symptoms, and pathology … and how to help prevent it
- A study recently reviewed found that higher markers of inflammation, including the measurement of CRP, during midlife were associated with 12% more cognitive decline over the following 20 years; other studies have found a relationship between low vitamin D levels and low omega-3 fatty acid levels and an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease
- Research from May of 2023 shows that the combination of B vitamins and omega-3s reduced the risk of dementia and were successful at stopping the brain shrinkage that is the hallmark of Alzheimer’s
- According to Food for the Brain, 99% of Alzheimer’s is not caused by genes but is the direct result of diet and lifestyle factors – and is predictable from as early as age 35. By starting early with positive prevention steps, researchers estimate that a person’s risk could be cut by as much as two thirds. Take their online Cognitive Function Test to learn more about steps you can take to protect your brain health.
Alzheimer’s Disease remains the 5th leading cause of death among Americans ages 65 and older. With this in mind, it is important to note that Alzheimer’s is a progressive, preventable brain disorder, NOT a normal part of aging, with long-term chronic inflammation and nutrient status playing very important roles.
Last week, we reviewed a study by Walker et al. showing how higher markers of inflammation, including the measurement of CRP, during midlife were associated with 12% more cognitive decline over the following 20 years.
Other studies have shown:
- A significant association between vitamin D deficiency and faster cognitive decline, as well as a 3-fold increase in the risk of Alzheimer’s disease (Feart et al., 2017)
- Individuals with vitamin D levels < 10 ng/ml were 2.22 times more likely to get Alzheimer’s and 2.25 more likely to develop all-cause dementia than participants with vitamin D levels > 20 ng/ml (Littlejohns et al., 2014)
- An overall 24% lower risk of dementia and a 25% lower risk of Alzheimer’s for those whose vitamin D levels were at or above 20 ng/ml (50 nmol/L) compared to those with levels below 20 ng/ml (Chai et al., 2019)
- A significant association between magnesium intake and reduced odds of cognitive impairment for the third and highest quartiles of magnesium intake compared to the lowest, and similarly for the third and highest quartiles of vitamin D serum levels compared to the lowest (Peeri et al., 2020)
- Individuals with higher Omega-3 Index levels (greater than 6.8%) had a 44% lower risk of cognitive impairment compared to participants with the lowest Omega-3 Index levels (Lukaschek et al., 2016)
- Significant benefits for those who had the highest baseline omega-3 fatty acid concentrations and who were also taking B vitamins (Oulhaj et al., 2016)
What is Alzheimer’s disease? Learn More with this Short Video
The short video featured below gives a thorough description of Alzeimer’s (Alzheimer) disease – progression of which is thought to involve an accumulation of beta-amyloid plaque and neurofibrillary tangles in the brain.
The timeline featured in the video above illustrates how symptoms worsen as plaques and tangles build up
- at first, symptoms might not be detectable
- short term memory loss (what they had for breakfast?)
- loss of some motor skills and language
- long term memory loss (spouse’s name, if they are married?)
- disorientation, risk of getting lost
- death, usually due to infection
The video quotes that there is no current cure – but could it be prevented? We say yes – as does Patrick Holford, director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Project at foodforthebrain.org, the UK’s leading dementia prevention charity.
Nutrients Proven to Stop Brain Shrinkage
Research from May of 2023 shows that the combination of B vitamins and omega-3s reduced the risk of dementia and were successful at stopping the brain shrinkage that is the hallmark of Alzheimer’s.
“…the research has found that giving older people with the first signs of cognitive impairment supplemental B vitamins (B6, B12 and folic acid) at higher levels than can be achieved through diet to those with sufficient omega-3 fats produced 73% less brain shrinkage in a year, compared to placebo.”
According to Food for the Brain
“99% of Alzheimer’s is not caused by genes but is the direct result of diet and lifestyle factors – and is predictable from as early as age 35. By starting early with positive prevention steps, researchers estimate that a person’s risk could be cut by as much as two thirds.”
Foodforthebrain.org has a free, validated online Cognitive Function Test, followed by a Dementia Risk Index questionnaire, which not only measures your cognitive function, but also shows you exactly what your risk is and how to reduce it by targeting your ‘weakest links’ using eight known prevention steps. This system can help you dementia-proof your diet and lifestyle… one step at a time!
Measure Factors Associated with Your Cognitive Health with 15% Off Today
Testing with the Inflammation Panel Test Kits can help individuals take more specific steps towards achieving lower overall inflammation levels and decreasing the risk of chronic diseases. Determine what changes you may need to take, such as increasing vitamin D intake if necessary, and/or increasing omega-3 (EPA and DHA) intake while decreasing pro-inflammatory omega-6 intake (such as AA) and making dietary changes as indicated by the test results.
The Inflammation Panel test kit offered by GrassrootsHealth includes CRP along with vitamin D and other important factors related to inflammation – order today and receive 15% off your test kit with the code HAPPYBRAIN (promotion expires 9/30/23).
You can also get 15% off the Cognitive Health Test Kit using the code HAPPYBRAIN.
Create Your Custom Home Test Kit
Measure your vitamin D levels at home as part of the D*action project! To know if you are getting enough, make sure you test today!
You can also measure your:
- Vitamin D
- Magnesium PLUS Essential and Toxic Elements
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Type 1 Diabetes Autoantibodies
Did you know that each of the above can be measured at home using a simple blood spot test? As part of our ongoing research project, you can order your home blood spot test kit to get your levels, followed by education and steps to take to help you reach your optimal target levels. Start by enrolling and ordering your kit to measure each of the above important markers, and make sure you are getting enough of each to support better mood and wellbeing!
Create your custom home test kit today. Take steps to improve the status of each of these measurements to benefit your overall health. With measurement you can then determine how much is needed and steps to achieve your goals. You can also track your own intakes, symptoms and results to see what works best for YOU.
How Can You Use this Information for YOUR Health?
Having and maintaining healthy vitamin D and other nutrient levels can help improve your health now and for your future. Measuring is the only way to make sure you are getting enough!
STEP 1 Order your at-home blood spot test kit to measure vitamin D and other nutrients of concern to you, such as omega-3s, magnesium, essential and toxic elements (zinc, copper, selenium, lead, cadmium, mercury); include hsCRP as a marker of inflammation or HbA1c for blood sugar health
STEP 2 Answer the online questionnaire as part of the GrassrootsHealth study
STEP 3 Using our educational materials and tools (such as our dose calculators), assess your results to determine if you are in your desired target range or if actions should be taken to get there
STEP 4 After 3-6 months of implementing your changes, re-test to see if you have achieved your target level(s)