How to Prevent Alzheimer’s: Strategies for Early Prevention

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It’s one of the most-asked questions in current medicine: How do I prevent Alzheimer’s disease? 

Early prevention shows great promise for lowering the risk of cognitive decline. The sooner prevention can start, the better the outcome.

What’s more, these methods can result in a boost in wellness starting right now. Here are the top research-backed strategies to prevent Alzheimer’s.

Causes of Alzheimer’s Disease

What is the primary cause of Alzheimer’s disease? Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple, single primary cause. Alzheimer’s research points to two major players. 

According to the National Institute on Aging, one cause of Alzheimer’s is the accumulation of beta-amyloid plaque and tau tangles in the brain. This causes brain cell deterioration and cognitive decline as the plaque builds up in the brain. The second most likely root cause of Alzheimer’s is inflammation

However, there are many factors that can contribute to this disease. Dr. Dale Bredesen researched this disease for 40 years and found some cumulative factors, which he refers to as “holes in the roof.”

He likens Alzheimer’s disease to a flooded home — the fewer holes in the roof that allows rainwater to build up, the lower the risk of an uncontrollable deluge.

Bredesen’s research shows that addressing these health problems can reduce your Alzheimer’s risk, particularly in the decades before the disease presents symptoms. 

Who is at an increased risk for Alzheimer’s? Conditions that lead to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s include:

  • Advanced age
  • Genetic predisposition and family history (these account for only 1% of cases)
  • Chronic diseases associated with vascular injury
  • Obesity
  • Inflammatory diet
  • Heavy metal toxicity
  • Chronic stress
  • Sleep issues
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Hormone imbalances
  • Head injury
  • Dysbiotic gut microbiome
  • Gum disease
  • Cellular function problems
  • Type 2 diabetes

Additionally, women are more likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s than men, setting it apart from other types of dementia.

As you can see, a host of underlying risk factors affect brain health and increase the risk of dementia in older adults. However, it’s possible to alter choices earlier in life for Alzheimer’s prevention.

Since this disease is multifactorial, there is no one main cause that can be prevented. That means that in order to lower your risk, more holistic lifestyle changes are your best bet.

Prevention Begins Decades Before Symptoms

It may come as a surprise that the brain changes that lead to Alzheimer’s typically begin in your 40s, decades before mild cognitive impairment begins to show

How can dementia be prevented? Dementia may potentially be prevented by choosing a healthy lifestyle in your physical activity, eating habits, oral hygiene, and even personal relationships.

These decisions can pay off not only in a happier, healthier middle age, but also for your brain later in life. Getting an early start, even from young adulthood, is the most effective strategy in preventing Alzheimer’s disease.

However, if you’re past your 40s and still wanting to stave off late-onset Alzheimer’s, it’s never too late to make these alterations to your lifestyle and promote brain health.  

6 Ways to Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

Many strategies to prevent Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are based around lifestyle-related changes. All of these will not only result in a lower risk of impaired cognitive function, but also improve your health today.

The Alzheimer’s Association states that preventative action can be taken to effectively reduce the risk of developing AD

How can you prevent Alzheimer’s naturally? You can prevent Alzheimer’s naturally with healthy eating, lowering stress, improving heart health, getting enough mental and physical activity, and maintaining good oral hygiene. 

The 5 most effective strategies to prevent Alzheimer’s disease naturally are:

  1. Healthy eating
  2. Lowering stress
  3. Improving heart wellness
  4. Mental and physical activity
  5. Proper oral hygiene

1. Healthy Eating

What foods fight dementia? Nutrient-dense foods that reduce inflammation lower your risk of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s. 

Fight Alzheimer’s before it starts with a healthy diet that looks like this:

  • Increasing your intake of certain nutrients, like vitamin B12, vitamin D3, folic acid, omega-3s, and zinc. All of these fight off inflammation, a key trigger for Alzheimer’s. Plus, B12 lowers homocysteine levels associated with AD. 
  • Eating more antioxidants. Berries, leafy greens like kale and spinach, and cruciferous vegetables like brussels sprouts and broccoli are all whole foods packed with antioxidants
  • Lowering your sugar intake. Sugars feed inflammation, and your brain loses the ability to properly burn them in Alzheimer’s disease. High blood sugar becomes a vicious cycle. In fact, some researchers have begun referring to the disease as “type 3 diabetes” due to its effects on insulin resistance in the brain.
  • 12-hour fasting periods. Bredesen’s recommended diet is a pattern of eating whole foods, healthy fats, and lean proteins that prevents Alzheimer’s. The diet also recommends 12-hour periods of not eating to give your brain time to enter autophagy, the body’s natural “self-cleaning” window that occurs during sleep and periods of fasting of at least 12 hours.

Some schools of thought recommend the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in whole grains, olive oil, fresh fruits, and vegetables. Other diets that may support Alzheimer’s prevention include the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) and the MIND diet, a combination of the Mediterranean and DASH diets.

While there is research to support some efficacy, the best results are likely to be achieved with the Bredesen Protocol, which is a form of ketogenic eating with set fasting windows.

Want to prevent Alzheimer’s using a plan that works… without breaking the bank? Get our guide to the Bredesen Protocol on a budget for as little as $5.

2. Lowering Stress

Lowering your stress levels will not only benefit your mental health and well-being, but it will also lower your risk of Alzheimer’s. Research has found a link between depression and stress and the onset of AD.

Ideas for lowering stress may include:

  • Mindfulness practices like meditation and breath exercises
  • Getting enough sleep (another important element in Alzheimer’s prevention)
  • Stretching
  • Spending time with a loved one, particularly if you can have a good laugh

3. Improving Heart Health

There is a strong tie between the health of your heart and your odds of developing AD. Individuals with high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure during their middle age are at a much higher risk of dementia.

To improve heart wellness and avoid heart disease that’s linked to Alzheimer’s, there are several things you can do. Stay away from processed red meat, maintain a healthy BMI, and practice gratitude. 

Other tips on this list, like physical activity, an anti-inflammatory diet, and lower stress, can also contribute to a healthy heart.

4. Physical Activity

Sedentary habits have been shown to result in decreased cognition and increased risk of AD. Staying physically active is one of your best defenses. Aerobic exercise is particularly encouraged.

What activities prevent Alzheimer’s? Physical activity can prevent Alzheimer’s, such as walking 30 minutes a day to increase the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. Making small choices toward physical exercise like taking the stairs, parking farther away, or investing in a pedometer can work toward this goal.

5. Mental Activity

An active mind and is hugely important in preventing Alzheimer’s. Staying mentally active can include a broad range of activities. 

Beware of online games that claim to prevent memory loss or improve brain health. While problem-solving games do keep your mind active, excessive screen time is not ideal.

Here are some activities that can help:

  • Doing puzzles like crosswords or sudoku
  • Reading
  • Learning new hobbies or skills
  • Social activities
  • Volunteering
  • Playing musical instruments
  • Social activities

As you can see, many kinds of activity can contribute to keeping your brain active. It’s just important to keep a routine that is meaningfully engaging. 

6. Oral Hygiene

There is a strong link in between gum disease and AD, so good oral hygiene is perhaps surprisingly among the top prevention strategies for Alzheimer’s. 

Brushing twice a day, flossing nightly, and getting regular dental checkups can stop the bacteria that causes gum disease from making its way to the brain. This prevents the amyloid-beta deposits and inflammation that they may cause.

Long-Term Outlook

Can Alzheimer’s disease be prevented? Yes, many cases of Alzheimer’s disease can be prevented with early action and lifestyle changes.

While these changes are beneficial at any age, the importance of early action in Alzheimer’s prevention cannot be overstated. The sooner you can implement these strategies, the less likely you are to hear that dreaded Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

What can you take to prevent Alzheimer’s? You can take supplements like B12, D3, and zinc, but it’s best to get these nutrients from food sources. Talk to a trusted healthcare provider about the available medications and which one is right for you or your family member.

Want to prevent Alzheimer’s using a plan that works… without breaking the bank? Get our guide to the Bredesen Protocol on a budget for as little as $5.

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