In my final part of this important series on Alzheimer’s disease, we come to the question of fish. And I’ll end with my bottom line on protecting yourself from dementia.
RECOMMENDED: Two Promising Supplements for Alzheimer’s
There is strong evidence from large population studies showing that dietary fish or fish oil rich in omega-3 fatty acids may prevent Alzheimer’s. Yet, most of the clinical studies using omega-3 fatty acids supplements in Alzheimer’s patients failed to show a beneficial effect in terms of improving cognitive functions.
A recent study showed that giving a high dose of the omega-3 docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) improved cognitive function in individuals with dementia. Therefore, future studies with more rigorous studies are needed to answer the question as to whether or not omega-3 fatty acids do or do not have a role in the prevention and treatment of dementia.
It’s true that most clinical trials failed to show a beneficial effect of omega-3s on dementia. However, there is preliminary evidence that the all-important fats could help those with mild dementia, but not moderate or severe dementia. Moreover, omega-3 fatty acids may be beneficial in those without the “APOE epsilon 4 allele” genetic profile.
Many other compounds have shown promise in terms of enhancing memory in the elderly, including the following: chromium; Concord grape juice; blueberry juice; “Melissa officinalis;” “Yi-Gan;” “San;” alpha lipoic acid; coenzyme Q10; and Spanish sage. I did not address them in my series, but there are some who believe they may be valuable.
Saint Louis University School of Medicine, Center for Healthy Brain Aging, advocates the use of the following checklist to promote healthy brain aging and prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease:
1. Quit smoking
2. Exercise every day
3. Eat a Mediterranean diet
4. Engage in intellectually challenging activities
5. Reduce stress with exercise/meditation
6. Be socially active
7. Get optimal sleep every night
8. Reduce chance of head injury
9. Reduce exposure to hazardous chemicals
10. Drink alcohol only in moderation
11. Maintain a normal weight
12. Control your blood pressure
13. Control your cholesterol levels
14. Control your blood sugar
15. Prevent your risk of stroke
16. Know the risks and benefits of supplements and medications
Moreover, I recommend measuring the following hormone levels and trying to keep them at optimal levels (with the help of your doctor, of course): dehydroepiandrosterone; estrogen; and pregnenolone.