By: Breque Bonner
Can a healthy diet prevent dementia or slow age-related memory loss? Research is showing that some nutrients play a key role in reducing dementia risk and slowing early-stage Alzheimer’s. Among the vitamins that have been linked to the prevention of Alzheimer’s and dementia are Omega-3s, vitamin D, zinc.
“It is important to remember to take medications as prescribed,” warns Vickie Tew, RN for Bayshore Home Care. Taking medications at the correct time of day and with a full or empty stomach can drastically change the way your body reacts. “I have seen many positive changes in the health of our patients as a result of taking medications properly. Taking medicines incorrectly can cause major complications and can even lead to hospitalizations that could have otherwise been avoided.”
In addition to taking medications properly, a key component to good health and clear thinking is staying hydrated. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, confusion and can affect the proper absorption of necessary vitamins and minerals. Suzanne Johnson, Administrator at Bayshore Home Care says, “We must pay close attention to senior’s and their hydration. This is especially true during the summer months when the heat causes dehydration at a rapid pace.” Adequate hydration allows the body to absorb all the nutrients that have been put into it. Because senior’s often have a small appetite it is of utmost importance that their bodies have the opportunity to absorb as many vitamins and minerals as possible.
Researchers studying Alzheimer’s disease are finding out more and more about basic nutrients that can help reduce the risk of dementia, or even slow the progress of Alzheimer’s. There’s definitely a link between a healthy diet and a healthy brain. High intake of carbohydrates and sugar has been associated with a higher risk of mild cognitive impairment, according to a recent Mayo Clinic study. Seniors should make sure to consume enough protein, especially healthy lean protein like poultry and fish. Some of the most promising compounds they’ve studied over the past few years include:
- Vitamin D: A 2012 study in Current Alzheimer Research indicated that low vitamin D is associated with Alzheimer’s. Another study from late 2012, conducted in France, confirmed that a higher intake of vitamin D is associated with a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
- Vitamin C: In a 2011 study in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, vitamin C treatments successfully dissolved amyloid plaques in the brains of mice—the same type of protein plaques that affect people with Alzheimer’s.
- Vitamin B12: In 2011, the journal Neurology reported that low vitamin B12 is a risk factor for cognitive impairment. An earlier study in 2010, also reported in Neurology, found that higher concentrations of B12 in the body were associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s.
- Vitamin E: The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease reported in 2010 that higher plasma levels of vitamin E in older adults correlated with a reduced Alzheimer’s risk.
- Omega-3s: A 2012 study in Neurology showed that people whose diets contained more omega-3 fatty acids had lower levels of Alzheimer-associated beta-amyloid in their blood.
- Zinc: A 2012 study in Biofactors showed that not only were patients with Alzheimer’s disease relatively deficient in zinc, treatment with zinc provided cognitive benefits in animal models.
Vitamins are absorbed better when they come from food; conversely, some vitamins are toxic at high levels, meaning you should check with a doctor before adding supplements to your loved one’s diet. If you are concerned about your loved one eating nutritious meals and taking their medications properly Bayshore Home Care in Tampa Bay Florida can help. Bayshore provides caregivers in the home that can prepare nutritious meals and remind your loved one when to take their medicines. Bayshore’s caregivers can also monitor your loved ones fluid intake in order to ensure proper hydration. This oversight can help keep seniors safe and healthy in their own homes.
Information provided in part by: The Science Behind Diet and Dementia , web, by Sarah Stevenson,Feb. 1, 2013 http://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/2013-02-01-diet-and-dementia/