A growing body of research has found that a healthy diet—along with brain exercises and an active social life—can go a long way toward protecting brain health and even delaying or preventing Alzheimer’s disease. Here are a handful of vitamins and minerals that are believed to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.
Several studies have confirmed a link between vitamin D deficiency and Alzheimer’s, as memory loss is more common among people with low vitamin D levels. While the exact relationship isn’t well understood, vitamin D receptors are found in many regions of the brain, and it’s believed this vitamin affects the way the brain works and how we learn, think, and behave. Research indicates that small doses of vitamin D can boost thinking and memory. Vitamin D supplements rarely have side effects, but if your elderly loved one consumes too much, he or she may experience sleepiness, fatigue, dry mouth, nausea, headaches, loss of appetite, or weakness.
Seniors may find it challenging to get the daily vitamins and nutrients they need, and trained caregivers can help aging adults maintain healthy diets. If your senior loved one needs hourly or live-in care, Calgary Home Care Assistance can help. Our caregivers can assist with exercise and mobility, prepare nutritious meals, provide timely medication reminders, and help with a wide array of other important daily tasks.
Magnesium is an essential mineral that supports many functions of the body, including brain health. Research indicates low levels of magnesium increase the risk of amyloid beta buildup, while higher levels promote the breakdown of amyloid beta. These peptides are the main component of the plaque found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. Magnesium supplements are usually safe at a dose of less than 350 mg per day, although some people develop diarrhea, nausea, and upset stomach. The best way to increase magnesium intake and avoid side effects is by eating a fiber-rich diet. Many foods high in fiber are also high in magnesium, including vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and nuts.
A trained professional caregiver can prepare nutritious meals and encourage your loved one to engage in cognition-boosting exercises. There are many reasons seniors might need assistance at home. Some may require regular mental stimulation due to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, while others might only need part-time assistance with exercise and basic household tasks. Home Care Assistance is a leading senior care provider. Families rely on our expertly trained caregivers to help their senior loved ones maintain a high quality of life.
Research has found people who get plenty of vitamin E from food sources are at lower risk for Alzheimer’s and dementia, although this same protective effect hasn’t been found in people who take vitamin E supplements. The best way to increase vitamin E levels is to eat sunflower seeds, peanuts, wheat germ, and vegetable-based oils. Some fruits and vegetables, such as mangoes, broccoli, and spinach, are also high in vitamin E. Vitamin E may not be safe for people with vitamin K or iron deficiencies or for people with blood clotting disorders. The most common side effects of vitamin E supplements include headaches, diarrhea, nausea, blurry vision, rashes, and fatigue.
B6, B9, & B12
The B vitamins—folate (B9), cobalamin (B12), and pyridoxine (B6)—are important for recycling DNA molecules in the body. B vitamin deficiency can lead to a buildup of an amino acid called homocysteine, which is toxic to many cells in the body. High homocysteine levels are also a known risk factor for dementia, although the relationship isn’t well understood. B vitamin supplements can reduce homocysteine levels and slow the buildup of amyloid beta and tau, which are responsible for the brain plaques associated with Alzheimer’s. B vitamins are generally safe except in people with low folate or iron levels. The most common side effects of B vitamin supplements include anxiety, swelling, headaches, and itchiness.
If your senior loved one finds it challenging to get the necessary amount of vitamins and nutrients every day, consider bringing in a trained professional caregiver to help. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of homecare. Calgary families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet their elderly loved ones’ unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. To learn about our premier in-home care options, give us a call at 403-301-3777 today.