3 antioxidants that provide the best protection from Alzheimer’s

Once you hit middle age, chronic and degenerative diseases become the biggest threat to your health and longevity. In fact, these diseases are linked to over 70 percent of deaths globally. That means they’re the reason most people in the world die.

Many of these diseases have strong links to oxidative stress, a condition that happens when free radicals and antioxidants get out of balance in your body. I like to think of antioxidants as responsible adults and free radicals as rowdy teenagers…

Without enough antioxidants around to keep free radicals in check, they throw a raging party inside your body and totally wreck the place (i.e., damage your cells).

Your brain is particularly vulnerable to oxidative stress. That’s because the metabolic processes your brain performs require a lot of oxygen, and this oxygen creates free radicals. If there aren’t enough antioxidants to counteract the free radicals produced in the brain, they start damaging brain cells and contribute to neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

In the case of Alzheimer’s, oxidative stress can mess with essential proteins like amyloid-beta peptides. This causes these proteins to accumulate too much and create the amyloid plaques in the brain that are the hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.

I know all that sounds a little scary, but here’s the good news…

You can use antioxidants to protect yourself. In fact, a new study shows that a few potent antioxidants may be able to protect you from Alzheimer’s…

Antioxidants diets and supplements make a dent in Alzheimer’s disease

A recent research review from researchers at The University of Western Australia found that antioxidants can prevent — or even reverse — Alzheimer’s.

These researchers looked at data from a wide variety of antioxidants so they could pin down exactly which ones were best at protecting brain cells and warding off the neurodegeneration that causes Alzheimer’s. Here’s what they found…

Eating an antioxidant-rich diet helps manage pH levels in the body, which when out of balance, can trigger oxidative stress. That means by simply eating antioxidant-rich foods you could be reducing your risk of Alzheimer’s.

Related: Take 10 years off your brain age with resveratrol

They also found that low-carb eating played an important role in Alzheimer’s prevention because it improves insulin resistance and blood sugar absorption. As you may have heard, poor insulin resistance and high blood sugar are linked to age-related memory impairment and Alzheimer’s disease. That’s why some people call Alzheimer’s disease type 3 diabetes.

But when it came to serious Alzheimer’s prevention and even treatment, antioxidant supplementation was the key…

In fact, researchers identified three specific antioxidants that provided the most protection against Alzheimer’s disease…

  • complex phenolic carotenoid
  • vitamin C
  • vitamin E

They found that these antioxidants were most effective when taken at high doses and in combination with one another.

Based on their analysis, these researchers found that taking this cocktail of antioxidants at increasing doses was more effective at preventing Alzheimer’s than any other available treatment. For those looking to manage an existing case of Alzheimer’s, lead researcher Dr. Gerald Veurink recommends diet changes and antioxidant supplementation.

“The combination of antioxidants at sufficiently high, personalized doses and a nutrient-rich, low-carbohydrate diet appears to have the biggest impact on patients suffering with Alzheimer’s,” Dr. Veurink said.

Increasing antioxidant intake with supplements and diet

If you’re interested in taking antioxidant supplements to prevent or treat Alzheimer’s disease, I recommend partnering with a trusted medical professional who can help you get the dosage right and support you on your journey.

That’s because, in order to be effective, you may need to take high doses of these supplements. A medical professional can help you get your dosage right and manage the risk of side effects. Because, in some clinical trials, taking antioxidant supplements at high doses (particularly vitamin E) has been linked to serious side effects, including an increased risk of cancer in some cases. Other trials have shown that there does not appear to be a long term, detrimental effect of taking antioxidants.

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If you want to make diet changes, you can do that right away. Eating an antioxidant-rich diet that’s also low-carb can make a dent in your risk of Alzheimer’s according to this research and past research as well. It could also improve your prognosis if you’ve already been diagnosed.

And just so you know, when I say “low-carb” I don’t necessarily mean keto or even paleo. You could try either of those diets if you’d like. But even a diet that includes a bit more carbs, like the Mediterranean diet, is proven to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. It’s more important that you’re cutting out refined carbohydrates and sticking to whole foods, including whole grains (if you choose to eat grains).

When it comes to increasing your antioxidant intake, there are a variety of delicious, antioxidant-filled foods to turn to, like:

  • Dark chocolate
  • Grapes
  • Pomegranate
  • Blueberries
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Strawberries
  • Carrots
  • Artichokes
  • Acorn squash
  • Pecans
  • Butternut squash
  • Goji berries
  • Raspberries
  • Mangosteen
  • Kale
  • Red cabbage
  • Beans
  • Beets
  • Spinach

Sources:

  1. Antioxidant cocktail key to preventing Alzheimer’s — MedicalXpress.
  2. Role of antioxidants and a nutrient rich diet in Alzheimer’s disease — Open Biology.
  3. How does oxidative stress affect the body? — Medical News Today.
  4. Chronic and Degenerative Disease: Major Causes of Morbidity and Death — American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
  5. Antioxidants and dementia — Alzheimer’s Society.
  6. 12 Healthy Foods High in Antioxidants — Healthline.
  7. A guide to antioxidant foods — Medical News Today.
Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine, TheFix.com, Hybridcars.com and Seedstock.com.