Alzheimer’s disease — the most severe form of dementia for which there is no effective conventional treatment or cure — currently affects an estimated 5.8 million Americans. By 2050, that figure is projected to hit 14 million. Taking steps to actively prevent dementia can help keep your brain sharp well into old age. If you’re not doing these six things, now is a great time to start.
Exercise leads to hippocampus growth and memory improvement, and it’s been suggested that exercise can trigger a change in the way the amyloid precursor protein is metabolized, thus slowing down the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s.
2. Optimize your vitamin D levels
Studies have shown strong links between low levels of vitamin D in Alzheimer’s patients and poor outcomes on cognitive tests. Researchers believe that optimal vitamin D levels may enhance the number of important chemicals in your brain and protect brain cells by increasing the effectiveness of the glial cells in nursing damaged neurons back to health.
3. Avoid and eliminate mercury and aluminum from your body
Dental amalgam fillings, which are 50% mercury by weight, are one of the major sources of heavy metal toxicity. Sources of aluminum include antiperspirants and nonstick cookware. Learn how to detox mercury and aluminum from your body.
4. Avoid anticholinergics and statin drugs
Drugs that block acetylcholine, a nervous system neurotransmitter, have been shown to increase your risk of dementia. These drugs include certain nighttime pain relievers, antihistamines, sleep aids, certain antidepressants, medications to control incontinence and certain narcotic pain relievers. Statins are also problematic because they suppress the synthesis of cholesterol, deplete your brain of coenzyme Q10 and neurotransmitter precursors and prevent adequate delivery of essential fatty acids and antioxidants to your brain.
5. Challenge your mind each day
Mental stimulation, especially learning something new, such as learning to play an instrument or a new language, is associated with a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s. Do a crossword puzzle, read, play a game of chess — keep your wheels turning by giving your brain something to work on each day.
6. Eat a healthy diet
Diet plays a huge role in disease prevention. Dietary strategies to help prevent dementia include avoiding sugar and refined fructose, avoiding gluten and casein, eating fermented foods, increasing your consumption of healthy fats, reducing your overall calorie consumption and intermittent fasting.