According to the Alzheimer's Association, there are more than 5 million Americans currently living with Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's disease, as well as other forms of dementia, are collectively one of the most common forms of degenerative disease in the U.S. and the world. The Alzheimer's Association explains that the disease rarely has a single cause, but rather it comes about as a result of multiple factors such as age, lifestyle, and co-occurring medical issues. Other forms of dementia seem to fall in the same category. Additionally, there are a number of different areas to consider when it comes to preventing Alzheimer's and dementia, as explained by Harvard Medical School. Lifestyle factors (i.e., diet and exercise) and social and cognitive factors (personal relationships and education) play a role in preventing cognitive decline. There are also a number of supplements that are believed to help prevent the cognitive decline that comes with Alzheimer's and dementia.
- Acetyl-L carnitine. According to memoryhealth.com, this supplement, which is currently under scientific study, is thought to have multiple benefits for brain health, with dementia prevention being one of them. Memory Health explains that it's believed to be both cardio-protective and neuro-protective. This dyad of potential benefits makes sense, because, as the Alzheimer's Association explains, Alzheimer's and cardiovascular disease are most likely linked in a significant way.
- Gingko biloba. This is a naturally occurring supplement, made from the leaves of a tree with the same name, also known as gingko. According to webmd.com, gingko improves blood flow to the brain (which is crucial) and acts as an antioxidant. Gingko has been thought to slow the development of dementia and Alzheimer's, but it is not specifically known to prevent these illnesses. If you or someone you know experiences even mild dementia, gingko can help to preserve a clear state of mind for a longer period of time.
- Lutein. Lutein is a carotenoid, or a nutrient, that is found in many types of edible plants, such as kale. According to memoryhealth.com, it is one of only three carotenoids that occur naturally in the brain. A wealth of scientific research has shown that lutein might provide multiple health benefits, including eye health, reducing the risk of coronary disease, and most recently, a link to improving long term mental health and preventing Alzheimer's.
- Vitamin E. It has the potential to play a role in improving cognitive and mental deficits in those suffering from dementia due to Alzheimer's disease. That's according to a 2017 study published in the International Journal of Medical Sciences. Vitamin E is a common supplement, and one that occurs naturally in the diet of most people, but it is thought to be one of the most grounded means of preventing the decline of Alzheimer's patients' cognitive functioning, according to scientific research.