Dementia is the general term for a progressive brain disorder that
gradually destroys a person's ability to carry out daily activities.
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia. It is estimated 10% of
people in their 60s, 20% in their 70s, and 30% in their 80s have AD in the U.S. On average, Alzheimer's patients live from 7 to 10
years after a
diagnosis, with some living up to 20 years. Death normally occurs
usually within ten years, and usually
from the failure of a body system or an infection.
To understand AD more, you can read this companion article:
Possible Treatments and Prevention
Unfortunately there is no cure for AD. Dr. Gary Small, director of
UCLA's Memory and Aging Center and
author of The Memory Bible,
says, "By the time a patient develops Alzheimer's disease, the damage
is done and likely irreversible. In the absence of a cure, our
best shot at beating Alzheimer's lies in slowing cognitive decline.
In November 2012, a pacemaker-like device was implanted into the brain of a patient in the early stages of AD at Johns Hopkins. This device, which provides deep brain stimulation and has been used in thousands of people with Parkinson's disease, is seen as a possible means of boosting memory and slowing cognitive decline.
Five FDA-approved medications can also be prescribed to individuals with AD to improve their mental functioning and allow them to perform more activities of daily living.  However, the medications' effects are temporary and become less effective as the disease progresses. A class of drugs called
cholinesterase inhibitors—Aricept is one example—helps to preserve
acetylcholine in the brain and that helps memory formation. Another
class of drugs, which includes memantine, helps preserve neurons and
probably helps to keep them healthy a little bit longer.
What's good for the heart is also good for the brain—and the reverse
is true, too. Vascular disease can make Alzheimer's symptoms appear
sooner or make them worse, so people should be physically active and
control their blood pressure, weight and cholesterol. They also should
be engaged socially and remain mentally active.
Optimal Food or Supplement for Mental Performance
- Drinking silicon-rich mineral water
- Preliminary evidence has shown that over 12 weeks of silicon-rich mineral water therapy the body burden of aluminum fell in individuals with Alzheimer's disease and, concomitantly, cognitive performance showed clinically relevant improvements in at least 3 out of 15 individuals.
- Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR)
- As we age, we synthesize 50% less ALCAR. Deficient in fuel, our cellular energy factories become dysfunctional and leave neurons sputtering in disorganized communication. Boosting ALCAR in brain cells helps revive mitochondrial functioning, creating a surge in overall mental and physical energy. ALCAR also blocks the formation of Alzheimer's tau tangles in test tubes.
acetyl group on ALCAR can be donated to a specific acceptor molecule,
choline, to form the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which helps
restore nerve function. Eggs are a good source of choline.
- Some studies have suggested a link between a reduced risk for Alzheimer's disease and the commonly used painkillers NSAIDs. The link between NSAIDs and a lower Alzheimer's risk was made when researchers observed that people who take NSAIDs for chronic conditions such as arthritis or other immune disorders have lower rates of Alzheimer's disease. More studies are needed to confirm or refute this finding.
- Compounds such as flavonoids, theanine, and caffeince, found
in both black and green tea, have been associated with decreased risk
of dementia and AD.
- Too much alcohol consumption increases risk of dementia, yet
plant chemicals known as ployphenols, particularly resveratrol found in
red wine, may help fight dementia and AD. The important caveat is
that you need to consume wine in moderation.
- Research on cocoa flavanols points to increased blood flow to
the brain and improved cognition. Surprisingly, a higher cocoa
content does not always guarantee the presence of cocoa
flavanols. Look for products that boast of their cocoa flavanol
- A study of elderly Norweginas found that those who consumed
chocolate, wine, and tea had better cognitive performance compared with
those who didn't partake in any or consumed only one or two of the
- Results from a placebo-controlled human study showed that
participants who drank Concord grape juice experienced significant
improvement in short-term retention and spatial memory testing.
- Strawberries & Blueberries
- Researchers at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research
Center on Aging at Tufts University demonstrated that strawberry
extract helped slow decline in cognitive function.
- An animal research study showed significant cognitive
improvement in adult mice who consumed wild blueberry (low-bush)
- Regular consumption of berries, such as blueberries or strawberries, may
help keep your brain functioning well as you age, new research
- Coffee[14, 16]
- A Finnish study of over 1,400 subjects found that those who
were coffee drinkers at midlife were less likely to develop dementia
than those who didn't drink coffee. Those at lowest risk were
3-to-5-cup-a-day coffee drinkers. However, be warned for the downsides of drinking too much caffeine.
- Researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine explain
that a “caffeinated-herbal chewing gum” effectively improved memory in a
series of tests used to asses cognitive functioning.
- Scientists from the USF/Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute in Tampa, Florida
describe a still unidentified component of coffee that increases the
amount of GCSF (granulocyte-colony stimulating factor) in animal models
of AD. This is of vital importance because treating AD mice with GCSF
counters the effects of the neurodegenerative disease.
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- In a study of 3,660 people over the age of 65, one group ate
fish rich in omega-3 fats three times a week or more. A second
group didn't eat fish regularly. The fish-eating subjects had
over a 25% reduction in the risk of silent infarcts of the brain that
are associated with dementia.
- In a review article, authors conclude that evidence from several types of studies, particularly
studies in animals, suggests
that changes in brain concentrations of DHA are
with changes in cognitive or behavioral
- In a study of over 1,000 elderly Asian subjects, those who
reported consuming curry "occasionally to very often" had significantly
better Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores for three categories
compared with those subjects who reported they "never or rarely"
- Chewing gum
- Research conducted by Todd Parish, MD, director of the Center
for Advanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging at North-western University,
found that gum chewing increased blood flow to the brain, decreased
emotional stress, and improved cognitive performance.
- Phosphatidylserine belongs to a group of substances called
phospholipids and can be found in the brain as well as in soy and
eggs. One study showed improvement in the games of young golfers
who took the supplement over a forty-two-day period.
Phosphatidylserine is believed to positively affect cognitive function,
specifically concentration; however research does not (yet) support its
use for improving cognition in older folks.
- B-complex vitamins
- Vitamin B12, niacin, and thiamine, are known to
improve cognitive performance
- Ginkgo biloba
- Researches at the UCLA had good results with studies on
ginkgo for memory boosting.
- Several clinical studies have reported that Panax (Asian)
ginseng can improve thinking or learning.
- Huperzine A
- Chinese medicinal extract with properties similar
to cholinesterase inhibitors
- Bioflavinoids present in maritime pine bark are believed to help
maintain the health of brain cells and facilitate oxygen uptake to
improve memory which might make it useful in treating AD.
- Top Brain Foods mentioned in Dr. Oz TV show:
- Lentil—for its capability of providing steady stream of glucose to the brain
- Chia seed—for its omega-3 fatty acid
- Brazil nuts—for its rich magnesium content
- Ginger and Apple Products[29-31]
- Ginger and apple products appear to protect human nerve cells from the
neurotoxic Alzheimer’s plaque protein amyloid Beta in a petri dish.
- Coconut Oil
- Dr. Mary T. Newport has documented the success of reversing her husband's Alzheimer's symptoms by eating coconut oil in her new book named "Alzheimer's Disease: What If There Was a Cure?"
Top Lifestyle Strategies for Protecting Your Brain
Brain Healthy Spices
- Avoid or treat strokes, heart disease, diabetes
- Treat depression and anxiety
- Upbeat attitudes and mentally active lifestyles
- See the inspiring video for an example 
- Follow a heart-healthy diet
- A study published recently in Archives of Neurology showed that a diet rich in salad dressing, nuts, fish, tomatoes, poultry, cruciferous vegetables, fruits and dark leafy greens—in combination with low intake of high-fat foods such as red meat, organ meat and butter—had a 30% reduced risk of AD.
- Eating a Mediterranean-style diet may not only affect the risk for AD, but also put the brakes on other forms of cognitive decline," says Catherine Feart, PhD, of Universite Victor Segalen in Bordeaux, France, who led the French study.
- Stimulate your mind
- For example, learn a new language and use it daily
- Engage socially with others
- Reduce stress
- Turmeric, found in curry, contains a chemical that has been shown
to decrease the plaques in the brain thought to be responsible for
- A number of studies have found that saffron is helpful in treating
mild to moderate depression.
- Sage has A-level--the highest level possible--scientific evidence
for memory enhancement.
- Cinnamon has been shown to enhance memory and focus and may aid
in the prevention of Alzheimer's disease. Plus, cinnamon helps
regulate blood sugar levels.
Avoid Aluminum and Copper[28,33,35-38,47]
Those neurofibrillary tangles associated with Alzheimer's
disease contain aluminum. While there's no evidence suggesting
that aluminum causes memory problems, it's better to try to avoid it.
In [28,33], Dr. Brewer has hypothesized that copper toxicity is causing the epidemic of Alzeimer's disease
and loss of cognition in our aging population. Some of his findings include:
- One way to reduce the aluminum you absorb:
- Use sea salt (or mined Himalayan salt) instead of table
salt, which is processed with
aluminum to avoid caking
- If you use baking soda in your bakery items, choose aluminum free ones.
- Other things that contain aluminum include:
- Nondairy creamers
- Certain cookware
- Note that EWG recommends cookware made of stainless, cast iron, or glass.
copper (organic copper) is processed by the liver
and is transported and sequestered in a safe manner. Inorganic copper,
as that in drinking water (hint: copper plumbing) and copper supplements,
largely bypasses the liver and enters the free copper pool of the blood
directly. So, to play safe, uptake your copper from organic source and filter your water before drinking.
As Dr. Oz said in :
Unfortunately, despite all efforts, even the healthiest person may still experience cognitive decline with age. Alzheimer's disease results from a complex interaction of factors:
While some of these factors can be addressed, others, such as genetics and age, are unavoidable.
- lifestyle, and
- existing medical conditions
- The 10 Best Questions for Living with Alzheimer's by Dede Bonner,
- 101 Optimal Life Foods by David Grotto, RD, LDN
- Change Your Brain Change Your Body by Daniel G. Amen, M.D.
- Your Brain on Food by
Gary L. Wenk
- UCSF Memory and Aging Center
- Alpha Lipoic Acid and Acetyl-L-Carnitine
- Pros and Cons of Aspirin
- Read Maintain Mental Vitality in How to Live Longer and Healthier Life
- If You Drink Too Much Caffeine
- Alzheimer's in America edited by Karen Skelton, Angela Geiger, Olivia Morgan, Roberta Hollander, and Kathryn Meyer
- Alzheimer's Association
- Aging Well News by Healthy Fellow
- High blood pressure increases dementia risk
- Coffee May Fend off Alzheimer’s
- Brain Shrinkage: It's Only Human
- 20 Years Younger by Bob Greene
- McCann JC , Ames BN (2005) Am J Clin Nutr 82:281–295.
- Looking at the link between diabetes and dementia
- Depression as a Risk Factor for Alzheimer Disease
- T. Ohara, Y. Doi, T. Ninomiya, et al: "Glucose tolerance status and risk
of dementia in the community: the Hisayama study." Neurology, Vol. 77,
Sept. 20, 2011, pages 1126-1134.
- Johanna C. Goll1 et al: "Impairments of auditory scene analysis in Alzheimer's disease." Brain (2011).
- Olfactory Robert S. Wilson, et al. "Identification and Incidence of Mild Cognitive Impairment in Older Age." Arch Gen Psynchiatry. 2007; 64(7):802-808.
- The tangled web in Alzheimer's protein deposits is more complex than once thought
- Perneczky R, et al "CSF soluble amyloid precursor proteins in the
diagnosis of incipient Alzheimer disease" Neurology 2011; Vol. 77: pages
35-38, June 22, 2011.
- Detecting Alzheimer's Earlier, Nasal Deposits Indicate Incipient Alzheimer's Disease Years Before The First Symptoms Appear
- The Risks of Copper Toxicity Contributing to Cognitive Decline in the Aging Population and to Alzheimer's Disease
- Amyloid and apple juice
- Ortiz D, Shea TB. Apple juice prevents oxidative stress induced by amyloid-beta in culture. J Alzheimers Dis. 2004 Feb;6(1):27-30.
- Lee C, Park GH, Kim CY, Jang JH.-Gingerol attenuates β-amyloid-induced oxidative cell death via fortifying cellular antioxidant defense system. Food Chem Toxicol. 2011 Jun;49(6):1261-9. Epub 2011 Mar 9.
- Seshadri S, et al. Plasma homocysteine as a risk factor for dementia and Alzheimer's disease. New Engl J Med 346: 476– 483, 2002.
- Brewer GJ, Newsome DA: “Copper Proof: How Chronic Copper Toxicity is Causing the Epidemics of Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia.” Ann Arbor: George J. Brewer Inc., 2009.
- Vitamin D and Its Benefits
- Virginie Rondeau, Daniel Commenges, Hélène Jacqmin-Gadda and Jean-François Dartigues. Relation between Aluminum Concentrations in Drinking Water and Alzheimer's Disease: An 8-year Follow-up Study Am. J. Epidemiol. (2000) 152 (1): 59-66. doi: 10.1093/aje/152.1.59
- Swegert,C.V., Dave,K.R. and Katyare,S.S. (1999) Effect of aluminium-induced Alzheimer like condition on oxidative energy metabolism in rat liver, brain and heart mitochondria. Mech. Ageing Dev., 112, 27–42.
- Tsunoda,M. and Sharma,R.P. (1999) Modulation of tumor necrosis α expression in mouse after exposure to aluminium in drinking water. Arch. Toxicol., 73, 419–426.
- Rogers,M.A. and Simon,D.G. (1999) A preliminary study of dietary aluminium intake and risk of Alzheimer's disease. Age Ageing, 28, 205–209.
- Death of NHL 'Enforcer' Boogaard Puts Spotlight on Repeated Head Trauma (CTE and Alzheimer's)
- Coconut Oil Touted as Alzheimer's Remedy (video)
- Eating Berries Might Help Preserve Your Memory
- Is Alzheimer’s Disease a Type of Diabetes?
- Mind Games: How to Prevent Dementia
- Alzheimer’s May Begin Early in Life
- Scientists Discover Children’s Cells Living in Mothers’ Brains
- JOHNS HOPKINS SURGEONS IMPLANT BRAIN ‘PACEMAKER’ FOR ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE IN UNITED STATES AS PART OF A CLINICAL TRIAL DESIGNED TO SLOW MEMORY LOSS
- Research presented at the Keele Aluminum Conference strengthens aluminum's link to cancer, Alzheimer's disease & more
- Nagele, Robert G. (2006). "Alzheimer's disease: new mechanisms for an old problem". University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.
- Growing bolder, not older (an inspiring video to watch)
- Aging with Grace by David Snowdon
- 青年，阿玆海默(in Chinese)
Tacrine (Mayo Clinic)
- A good account of the disease from a patient's recollections.
Committed to Memory:How We Remember and Why We Forget by Rebecca RuppSilicon-Rich Mineral Water as a Non-Invasive Test of the "Aluminum Hypothesis" in Alzheimer's Disease (PubMed)9 Top Foods To Boost Your BrainpowerGrain BrainFull-length TDP-43 Antibody Confirms Human FTLD
- Tacrine slows the breakdown of acetylcholine, so it can build up and have a greater effect. However, as Alzheimer's disease gets worse, there will be less and less ACh, so tacrine may not work as well.
- Tacrine may cause liver problems.
Where Does Alzheimer's Treatment Go From Here? (12/29/2016)