Healthy Living

Can Supplements and Vitamins Help with Alzheimer’s Disease?

Research shows that vitamins and minerals may help ease the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.

Can Supplements and Vitamins Help with Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is heartbreaking, and any suggestions or help is welcomed. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s and only a few medications are available for patients to ease the symptoms of the disease. It is a given that proper nutrition supports your brain and body function, plus vitamins and supplements can provide an added boost to the foods you eat. One thing that patients can do is try supplements and vitamins.

Interesting Supplements and Vitamins

Antioxidants

Antioxidants protect your body from free radicals that damage cells and cause heart disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer. Many antioxidants are advertised and suggested, but the best ones are found naturally — Beta-Carotene, vitamins C and E, and resveratrol are common in plant foods like green teas, berries, and bell peppers.

Studies on those with Alzheimer’s have found signs of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress means that your body has been fighting free radical damage. Eating better and using foods with antioxidant properties could be very beneficial. However, researchers are still unsure if supplements of antioxidants are better than eating naturally and no definitive answers have been found yet, but eating berries and drinking green tea can’t hurt.

Resveratrol is a great antioxidant found in red grapes, red wine, peanuts, and dark chocolate. Researchers are hoping these resveratrol foods have anti-aging properties and can lower your risk of some diseases.

It has long been hoped that resveratrol can protect your brain from Alzheimer’s. Recent studies show that if you have regular doses of resveratrol, the progress of the disease is decreased. This is interesting, but there is no proof that resveratrol affects Alzheimer’s. Those in the study took strong doses of resveratrol, and it looks promising, but more studies need to be conducted.

A diet full of food with resveratrol can be tasty, but can it help Alzheimer’s? According to researchers, they can.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a great vitamin to help the brain. Most vitamin D is found from the sun and foods like fish, cheese and egg yolks. It is also very common as a supplement. Studies have shown there is a definite link between vitamin D and Alzheimer’s disease. One recent study showed those with low vitamin D levels were twice as likely to have Alzheimer’s than those with normal levels of vitamin D.

Does low vitamin D cause Alzheimer’s? Can taking vitamin D prevent the disease? More research needs to be conducted before researchers will recommend vitamin D for Alzheimer’s. However, vitamin D is an essential vitamin, and the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation lists vitamin D as a safe supplement.

Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo Biloba has been listed as a memory aid. This supplement might help you with Alzheimer’s, but no proof that the supplement improves your memory has been found. Avoid Ginkgo since it may cause bleeding, lower your blood sugar and alter blood pressure. Ignore the claims that Ginkgo Biloba will help with memory issues, including Alzheimer’s, until more studies have been conducted.

Omega-3s

Studies and high-quality reviews have not found evidence for the efficacy of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplements in treating any stages of Alzheimer’s disease. This negative study is very disappointing, but more research is ongoing.

Vitamin E

Studies have found no evidence that vitamin E will help with cognitive impairment. Vitamin E may help to improve your skin and immune system, and it is a popular antioxidant. However, the risks of taking supplements of vitamin E need to be documented and studied further.

Vitamin E is excellent if you are low in the vitamin, but vitamin E deficiencies are rare. If you have cystic fibrosis or digestive problems, you may have low levels of vitamin E, and this decrease will affect your health.

Natural Products

Taking a multivitamin or high doses of individual vitamins like selenium, B vitamins, calcium, and vitamin D is good for your body, but there are no clear benefits for cognition.

If you are having sleep problems along with Alzheimer’s symptoms, there is no clear review that melatonin will help you. It won’t hurt your body, however since melatonin is a hormone made naturally by the pineal gland. This gland helps your body know when it’s time to go to sleep and wake up and melatonin is a definite help for non-Alzheimer’s patients.

Another supplement being tried for Alzheimer’s disease is coconut oil. Some researchers are very interested in coconut oil to prevent or treat Alzheimer’s disease. Small clinical trials have been conducted, but no large clinical trial supports the use of coconut oil for Alzheimer’s disease.

How Is Alzheimer’s Disease Diagnosed?

Science defines Alzheimer’s disease as a neurological complaint caused by the death of brain cellsn which causes a loss of memory and cognitive decline. In 2013, almost 5 million people received a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. This number is expected to double by 2050. Symptoms are mild at first, and you may think you or your loved one is only experiencing the effects of aging, but as time progresses so does memory loss and cognitive ability. Alzheimer’s is heartbreaking, incurable, and non-stoppable.

As  Alzheimer’ progress, more plaques harboring beta-amyloid form in the brain, your symptoms get worse, and it is harder for you to remember current events, to reason or think, or to recognize those around you. Eventually, you will need full-time assistance.

Early-onset familial Alzheimer’s can affect those with a family history of the disease between the ages of 30 and 60. Early-onset Alzheimer’s accounts for just under 5 percent of all Alzheimer’s cases.

There is no single test for Alzheimer’s disease. The only way to diagnose the disease is through signs and symptoms, medical history and ruling out other conditions. The neurological functions like balance, senses, and reflexes may be tested for a diagnosis. An MRI scan of the brain, blood or urine tests and screening for depression are also stages for an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. To confirm Alzheimer’s watch for gradual memory loss, progressive cognitive impairment and an inability to answer simple questions.

Medication may be prescribed and using supplements and vitamins might be increased. The best treatment, however, are still watching for the signs and symptoms, providing proper nutrition, taking vitamins and minerals, and exercising both your body and mind.