What Do We Know About Diet and Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease?

Can eating a specific food or following a particular diet help prevent or delay dementia caused by Alzheimer ’ s disease ? many studies suggest that what we eat affects the aging brain ’ s ability to think and remember. These findings have led to research on general eat patterns and whether they might make a difference .
older woman and man cooking The Mediterranean diet, the associate MIND diet ( which includes elements designed to lower rake pressure ), and other goodly eating patterns have been associated with cognitive benefits in studies, though the evidence is not a strong as it is for other interventions like physical activeness, blood pressure and cognitive train. presently, researchers are more rigorously testing these diets to see if they can prevent or delay Alzheimer ’ second disease or age-related cognitive refuse .

Diet and Dementia Risk

Changes in the brain can occur years before the first base symptoms of Alzheimer ‘s appear. These early brain changes suggest a possible window of opportunity to prevent or delay dementia symptoms. Scientists are looking at many potential ways to do this, including drugs, life style changes and combinations of these interventions. Unlike early risk factors for Alzheimer ’ s that we can ’ thymine change, such as age and genetics, people can control life style choices such as diet, use and cognitive train .
How could what we eat affect our brains ? It ’ s potential that eating a certain diet affects biological mechanisms, such as oxidative stress and excitement, that underlie Alzheimer ’ sulfur. Or possibly diet works indirectly by affecting other Alzheimer ’ mho risk factors, such as diabetes, fleshiness and center disease. A raw avenue of inquiry focuses on the relationship between catgut microbes — bantam organisms in the digestive system — and aging-related processes that lead to Alzheimer ’ south.

The Mediterranean and MIND Diets and Alzheimer’s

One diet that shows some promise attest is the Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes fruits, vegetables, unharmed grains, legumes, fish, and early seafood ; unsaturated fats such as olive oils ; and low amounts of crimson kernel, eggs, and sweets. A variation of this, called MIND ( Mediterranean–DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay ) incorporates the DASH ( Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension ) diet, which has been shown to lower high gear blood pressure, a gamble agent for Alzheimer ’ s disease .

Ingredients of the MIND Diet

The MIND diet focuses on plant-based foods linked to dementia prevention. It encourages eating from 10 healthy food groups :

  • Leafy green vegetables, at least 6 servings/week
  • Other vegetables, at least 1 serving/day
  • Berries, at least 2 servings/week
  • Whole grains, at least 3 servings/day
  • Fish, 1 serving/week
  • Poultry, 2 servings/week
  • Beans, 3 servings/week
  • Nuts, 5 servings/week
  • Wine, 1 glass/day*
  • Olive oil

The MIND diet limits servings of crimson kernel, sweets, cheese, butter/margarine and fast/fried food .
*Be careful about how much alcohol you drink. How the body handles alcohol can change with age. Learn more about alcohol and older adults .
Some, but not all, experimental studies — those in which individuals are observed or certain outcomes are measured, without treatment — have shown that the Mediterranean diet is associated with a lower gamble for dementia. These studies compared cognitively normal people who ate a Mediterranean diet with those who ate a Western-style diet, which contains more bolshevik kernel, saturated fats and sugar .
evidence supporting the MIND diet comes from experimental studies of more than 900 dementia-free older adults, which found that close following the MIND diet was associated with a reduce risk of Alzheimer ’ s disease and a slower rate of cognitive refuse .
salmon with vegetables not all studies have shown a associate between eating well and a boost in cognition. Overall, the testify suggests, but does not prove, that following a Mediterranean or similar diet might help reduce the hazard for Alzheimer ’ s dementia or slow cognitive refuse. To find out more, scientists supported by NIA and other organizations are conducting clinical trials—considered the gold criterion of medical proof—to shed more ignite on any cause and effect. ( See a tilt of trials presently recruiting participants at the end of this article. )
While scientists aren ’ thymine certain so far why the Mediterranean diet might help the brain, its effect on improving cardiovascular health might in call on reduce dementia risk. Two holocene studies suggest that, as separate of this diet, eating fish may be the strongest divisor influencing higher cognitive function and slower cognitive decline. In line, the typical western diet increases cardiovascular disease risk, possibly contributing to faster brain age .
In addition, the Mediterranean diet might increase specific nutrients that may protect the brain through anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It may besides inhibit beta-amyloid deposits, which are found in the brains of people with Alzheimer ’ second or improve cellular metabolism in ways that protect against the disease .

A Look at the Evidence

Studies that observed changes in think of people who ate the Mediterranean or MIND diet suggest it might help the brain. For exercise :

  • In one observational study of 116 cognitively normal adults, those who followed a Mediterranean diet had thicker cortical brain regions than those who did not. These brain regions shrink in people with Alzheimer’s, so having thicker regions could mean cognitive benefit.
  • A follow-up observational study showed lower glucose metabolism and higher levels of beta-amyloid protein — both seen in Alzheimer’s — in people who did not follow the Mediterranean diet closely, compared to those who did.
  • An analysis of diet and other factors found that, after an average of 4.5 years, people who adhered most closely to the MIND diet had a 53% reduced rate of Alzheimer’s disease compared to those who did not follow the diet closely.
  • In a similar study, following the MIND diet was associated with a substantial slowing of cognitive decline during an average of almost 5 years.
  • The Age-Related Eye Disease Studies originally looked at diet and eye disease. Further analysis by the researchers showed that people who followed the Mediterranean-style diet had a lower risk of developing cognitive problems while maintaining a higher level of cognitive function.

What Do We Know About Individual Foods?

many foods — blueberries, leafy greens, and curcumin ( found in the spice turmeric ), to name a few — have been studied for their likely cognitive benefit. These foods were thought to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant or other properties that might help protect the brain. therefore army for the liberation of rwanda, there is no evidence that eating or avoiding a particular food can prevent Alzheimer ’ sulfur disease or age-related cognitive decline .
But scientists continue to look for clues. One cogitation, based on older adults ’ reports of their eat habits, found that eating a daily serve of leafy green vegetables such as spinach and boodle was associated with slower age-related cognitive worsen, possibly due to the neuroprotective effects of certain nutrients. Research has besides shown that eating a diet that includes regular pisces pulmonary tuberculosis is associated with higher cognitive routine and slower cognitive descent with historic period. Another recent study, in mouse, found that consuming a fortune of salt increased levels of the protein tau, found in the brains of people with Alzheimer ’ s, and caused cognitive damage .

What About Vitamins and Supplements?

experimental studies and clinical trials have looked at many over-the-counter vitamins and dietary supplements, including vitamins B and E and ginkgo biloba, to prevent Alzheimer ’ second disease or cognitive decline. The theme is that these dietary add-ons might attack oxidative wrong or inflammation, protect steel cells, or charm other biological processes involved in Alzheimer ’ randomness.

Despite early findings of possible benefits for mind health, no vitamin or supplement has been proven to work in people. overall, evidence is watery as many studies were besides small or besides short to be conclusive .

Take DHA ( docosahexaenoic acid ) for exercise. Studies in shiner showed that this omega-3 fatty acid fatty acerb, found in salmon and sealed other fish, reduced beta-amyloid plaques, a hallmark of Alzheimer ’ mho. however, clinical trials in humans have had mixed results. In a analyze of 485 older adults with age-related cognitive refuse, those who took a DHA supplement day by day for 24 weeks showed improved learn and memory, compared to those who took a placebo. Another study of 4,000 older adults — conducted chiefly to study eye disease — concluded that taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements, alone or with other supplements, did not slow cognitive decline .
At this time, no vitamin or supplement is recommended for preventing Alzheimer ’ s or cognitive worsen. Although widely available from drugstores and on the internet, many of these have not been tested for their effects on thinking. Their safety and effectiveness are largely unknown, and they may interact with early medications. ( note : A lack in vitamin B12 or vitamin bc may cause memory problems that are reversible with proper treatment. )
For more information, visit the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration .

The Connection Between the Digestive System and the Brain

Researchers are learning how the biochemical processes of food consumption and digestion interact with changes in the brain. They are finding that the catgut microbiome — the community of viruses, bacteria and other microbes in the digestive system — may influence the attack and progress of Alzheimer ’ sulfur disease .
Studies in shiner and humans show that the composition of the gut microbiome in Alzheimer ’ sulfur and balmy cognitive disability is unlike from that in cognitively normal beings .
Changes in the gut microbiome as people old age have been linked to disruptions in the immune system, dogged inflammation and chronic diseases, including neurological disorders such as Alzheimer ’ south. Researchers are exploring how these changes are related to each early and to genius changes related to Alzheimer ’ mho, including neurodegeneration and the accumulation of toxic proteins beta-amyloid and tau .
Identifying the good and bad gut microbes associated with Alzheimer ’ south could help scientists learn more about the biota of the disease and develop a new room to predict and potentially treat it .

Researchers Continue to Seek Answers

The mind of Alzheimer ’ sulfur as a metabolic disease that affects the mind, and Alzheimer ’ mho markers such as glucose metabolism, have led scientists in versatile directions. Besides the Mediterranean diet and its variations, they are looking at other diets deoxyadenosine monophosphate well as individual foods and nutrients .
For example, the ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that prompts the production of ketones, chemicals that aid brain cells work. Studies show that this diet may affect intestine bacteria in classifiable ways in people with and without cognitive disability, and may help brain cells better use energy, improving their overall serve .
Researchers are seeking answers to these questions :

  • Which foods are critical to brain health and should be included in diet-based interventions?
  • Which groups of people are most likely to benefit from dietary interventions targeting prevention of dementia and cognitive decline?
  • Can dietary interventions introduced in midlife lead to better outcomes?

These clinical trials are recruiting participants to test dietary interventions :

  • Enhanced Mediterranean Diet for Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention — Cognitively normal adults age 65 and older in Kansas City, Kansas, are randomly assigned to either a Mediterranean diet or a low-fat diet to gauge the impact on cognitive function, brain volume and other measures.
  • Mediterranean Diet, Weight Loss and Cognition in Obese Older Adults — This Chicago study will test the effects of a Mediterranean diet, with and without caloric restriction, to promote weight loss and improve cognitive function in obese older adults.
  • Multicultural Healthy Diet to Reduce Cognitive Decline — This 18-month trial will investigate whether an anti-inflammatory diet tailored to a multicultural population in Bronx, New York, can improve cognitive functioning.
  • Brain Energy for Amyloid Transformation in Alzheimer’s Disease — Older adults with MCI in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, are randomly assigned to follow either a modified Mediterranean ketogenic (low-carbohydrate/high-fat) diet or an American Heart Association high-carb/low-fat diet for 16 weeks, with follow-up to assess effects on cognition and Alzheimer’s biomarkers.

To learn more or to find a trial near you, visit the Alzheimers.gov Clinical Trials Finder.

For More Information About Alzheimer’s Prevention

NIA Alzheimer’s and related Dementias Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center
800-438-4380 ( toll-free )
adear @ nia.nih.gov
The NIA ADEAR Center offers information and release print publications about Alzheimer ’ south and related dementia for families, caregivers, and health professionals. ADEAR Center staff suffice call, e-mail, and written requests and make referrals to local anesthetic and national resources .
Explore the Alzheimers.gov portal site for information and resources on Alzheimer ’ sulfur and relate dementia from across the federal government .
This message is provided by the NIH National Institute on Aging ( NIA ). NIA scientists and other experts review this contented to ensure it is accurate and up to date .

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