Did you know that studies show that 1/3 to 1/2 of all dementias are preventable? As a Naturopathic Doctor, I can't say I am especially surprised that this is true (I actually think the real statistic is probably higher), but I am surprised that research has been done to start showing a causal link!
The incidence of Alzheimer's Disease is increasing by staggering amounts. A 2013 report showed that death from brain disease, including dementia, has gone up 66% in men and 92% in women in the last 20 years. In the state of California where I live, there has been a 186% increase in incidence of Alzheimer's Disease since 2000. Thankfully, these scary figures have drawn some much needed attention and research to the issue.
The AAIC found that at least 1/3 of all dementias are preventable, and another report by Barnes and Yaffe suggests that almost 50% of all dementias are preventable by seven modifiable risk factors: Smoking, physical inactivity, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, depression, low educational attainment, and midlife obesity.
Q: What's the difference between dementia and Alzheimer's Disease? I often see them used interchangeably.
A: Alzheimer's is a type of dementia. It accounts for 60-80% of cases of dementia, which is why the two terms are often used interchangeably, even though they are not exactly the same.
Below are my 6 Top Ways to Prevent Dementia
1. Eat a low (or no) grain, low added sugar, high fat, high vegetable diet
- Eat clean (grassfed or pastured, organic) meat several times per week
- Eat a wide variety of vegetables
- Avoid foods that you are sensitive or allergic to
- Enjoy your coffee, but make sure it's organic
- Avoid Gluten
- Avoid processed foods
2. Exercise 150 minutes per week
- Get your heart rate up to 80% of maximum heart rate for as much of this as possible. This will help stimulate growth of new neurons, and helps prevent dementia, treat dementia, and increase cognition whether you have dementia or not!
3. Lower (or change your relationship to) your stress. Did you know that meditation actually increases your brain matter? Also, Check the following video out.
4. Keep your mind sharp
- In one study, participants who read, did puzzles, or played cards, games, or musical instruments about four days a week were two-thirds less likely to get Alzheimer's compared with those who did these activities once a week or less.
- Avoid unnecessary antibiotics. If you need to be on them, take probiotics during and after.
- Avoid unnecessary steroid drugs. If you have a chronic condition that requires frequent steroid drug therapy, see a Naturopathic Doctor or Functional Medicine Doctor to start looking for other ways to health.
- Filter your water. Water now contains chlorine and other chemicals that affect our microbiomes.
- Avoid Gluten: Gluten negatively impacts the microbiome
6. Supplements that can be helpful: (please seek medical advice before starting any of the following, and make sure your supplements are QUALITY!).
- Omega 3 fatty acids
- Lion's Mane Mushroom
- Alpha Lipoic Acid
- Vitamin D
- B12 and B-complex
- Low dose vitamin E