Alzheimer's is one of America's most feared diseases. There are many different paths to an Alzheimer's diagnosis — whether it be high cholesterol, presence of an Alzheimer's gene, or slowing cognitive function — but there are real things you can do today to lower your risk. Staying on top of your health and eating the right foods can make a huge difference, and these make up some of Dr. Oz's key Alzheimer's prevention tips.
Alzheimer's disease affects 5 million people in the United States each year, and that number is expected to nearly triple by 2060. From a focused exercise regimen to vitamin-rich foods to add to your diet, start making these changes today to take control of your risk factors — and make sure to share them with someone you love.
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Body mass index may directly impact the size of your brain
A study in the Journal Neurology studied the brains of nearly 10,000 people with an average age of 55. Those studied with a high BMI were more likely to have a smaller brain volume. People with a high BMI and a high hip-to-waist ratio had less gray matter. White matter wasn’t affected in the population the researchers sampled.
Daily exercise with interval training for 1-2” brief spurts
Scientists have found that six weeks of intense exercise (short bouts of High Intensity Interval Training(HIIT)) showed significant improvements in what is known as high-interference memory. For example, high-inference memory allows us to distinguish our personal car from another of the same make and model. The study is published in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience.
Meditate to protect against stress
Research has demonstrated that high levels of chronic stress negatively impact the hippocampus, a part of the brain involved in memory and learning, and are associated with increased incidence of MCI and Alzheimer’s. A 2011 study published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) found that after eight weeks of mindful meditation, gray matter increases in density were seen in the hippocampus, protecting the brain against damaging effects of stress.
B complex with 500mg B12 and 800mg folic acid daily
High levels of vitamin B12 in the blood are already known to help reduce levels of homocysteine, a chemical found to increase your risk of Alzheimer’s. A study published in Neurology tested 271 Finnish people, aged 65 to 79. It found that 17 people developed Alzheimer’s disease and that increases in Vitamin B12 were associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s.
DHA Omega 3 fatty acid 600mg daily
A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease showed a correlation between lower omega-3 fatty acid levels and reduced brain blood flow to regions important for learning, memory, depression, and dementia. In other words, omega-3s can improve blood flow to the brain responsible for learning, memory, depression, and dementia.
Remember, your genes are not your destiny. Talk to your doctor about possible tests available to see if you have the Alzheimer's gene, and if you notice any of the six signs of Alzheimer's in a loved one, bring it up to their physician sooner rather than later.