As you age, your brain may suffer the kind of memory breakdown that occurs during Alzheimer’s disease. But research shows that some important supplements can help the brain defend itself. It would be a good idea to add these to your anti-Alzheimer’s arsenal now to slow and hopefully prevent any damage.
A study at the University of California’s Department of Surgery in Los Angeles shows that when older people start to suffer what’s called mild cognitive impairment — the initial memory slippage that can reveal the start of dementia — taking omega 3 fatty acid fish oil supplements, along with antioxidants, can slow the damage done to brain cells.
“Prevention of mild cognitive impairment progression is one of the best hopes (for avoiding Alzheimer’s),” says researcher Milan Fiala. “In addition to physical and mental exercises recommended by experts, this study suggests that nutrition is equally important.”
The antioxidants that have shown the most promise for keeping aging brains healthy include:
- Acetyl-L-carnitine: May help the brain’s neurons produce extra energy by improving the health of mitochondria, cellular structures that fuel cellular activity.
- Vitamin C: Research shows it can help protect the hippocampus, the part of the brain where memories are formed. Vitamin C promotes neuronal recovery from oxidative, toxic damage.
- Alpha lipoic acid: Studies show it can improve the health of neurons that are damaged during the development of Parkinson’s disease.
- Curcumin: Derived from turmeric, curcumin is believed to help keep the incidence of Alzheimer’s very low in India, where turmeric is a frequently used spice. Researchers believe this compound can help prevent the oxidative stress linked to dementia.
If you decide to take these types of supplements to reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s disease, don’t forget to get plenty of exercise and sleep, too. Being well-rested and in good physical condition improves the condition of your brain.
And use your brain. The old adage, “use it or lose it,” definitely applies to brain health. You can exercise your brain, as was recommended by the experts in the study, by reading books, playing around with word games and puzzles in your spare time or learning a new skill.