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food for the brain

Championing optimum nutrition for the mind


Action plan for dementia & Alzheimer’s

Test your homocysteine level and up your B vitamin intake

Homocysteine can be tested either through your doctor or using a home test kit. If your homocysteine level is above 9 units and there any signs or symptoms of memory problems, we recommend supplementing with a homocysteine lowering formula. This should provide vitamin B6 (20 to 100mg), B12 (100 to 500mcg), and folic acid (400mcg to 1,000mcg) a day or, better still, take an all-round homocysteine-lowering formula containing TMG and B2 as well. N-Acetyl Cysteine (500mg a day) may also help or, alternatively, chose a homocysteine formula which uses a special form of B12, methyl B12, which works best.

Up your intake of essential omega-3 fats

This means eating fish at least twice a week, seeds on most days and supplementing omega 3 fish oils.

The best fish for Omega 3, the fat that’s linked with improving mood, are: mackerel (1,400mg per 100g/3oz) herring/kipper (1,000mg) sardines (1,000mg),fresh tuna (900mg), anchovy (900mg), salmon (800mg), trout (500mg). Tuna, being high in mercury, is best eaten not more than twice a month. Swordfish and marlin are best avoided or eaten very infrequently for the same reason..

The best seeds are flax seeds and pumpkin seeds. Flax seeds are so small they are best ground and sprinkled on cereal. Alternatively, use flax seed oil, for example in salad dressings. While technically providing omega 3 only about 5% of the type of omega 3 (alpha linolenic acid) in these seeds is converted in your body into EPA.

To help reduce brain inflammation, we recommend supplementing with omega 3 fish oils, as well as eating oily fish twice a week. The ideal amount for maximizing memory and mental health is likely to be in the region of 300 mg of EPA and 200 mg of DHA daily, and double or triple this if you have age-related memory decline.

Also minimise your intake of fried foods.

Increase antioxidants

To ensure you are getting the proper types and amounts of antioxidants, both eat lots of fruit and vegetables with a variety of colours, and also supplement daily with 2,000 mg of vitamin C, taken in two divided doses, plus 400iu (300mg) of vitamin E, as part of an all-round antioxidant that contains N-acetyl-cysteine and/or reduced glutathione, as well as Co-enzyme Q10.

Don’t smoke and minimise passive smoking.

Increase your intake of acetylcholine enhancers and Ginkgo biloba.

Phospholipids are very rich in eggs so don’t avoid eggs. The best eggs are those of fit chickens fed omega 3 rich flax seeds. Their eggs contain both phospholipids and omega 3 fats. Lecithin granules or capsules are a rich source of phospholipids. You can also buy nutritional supplements containing phosphatidyl choline, phosphatidyl serine, DMAE and pyroglutamate. These may be beneficial.

Some also contain Ginkgo biloba.

Avoid toxic metals

Don’t have amalgam (mercury) fillings fitted. If you have a mouthful of mercury fillings consider having them replaced. Filter your drinking water or drink bottled natural mineral water. Don’t use old aluminium pots and pans and stay away from toiletries containing aluminium salts.

Stay mentally and physically active and control your stress

Keep learning new things and using your mind and exercise at least three times a week. Even walking 15 minutes makes a difference.

Finding help

If you would like further help, you can visit our clinic the Brain Bio Centre which specialises in optimum nutrition for mental health recovery. We have helped many people reduce their risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s, by working with them to create personalised nutritional programmes based upon their health history, symptoms and test results. Good nutrition plays a big role in these conditions and can bring benefits in the early stages but is less effective in advanced cases of Alzheimer’s. If you would like to learn more about how we can help you, please click here.

Alternatively a register of nutritional therapists in your local area can be found by visiting the British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT).

Further reading

Alzheimer Alzheimer’s Prevention Plan
Patrick Holford, Shane Heaton & Deborah Colson, 2011
The pressure that Alzheimer's Disease places on sufferers, their families and health care systems is immense. The Alzheimers Prevention Plan is based on research into nutritional medicine from experts around the world. This book provides practical advice on steps that can be taken to stop memory decline and reduce the risk of Alzheimer's.