Alzheimer’s disease is one of the many issues that I wish did not exist in our world.  It is hard for families to watch their loved ones go through this mental decline and it is even harder for the person that is going through it.  They are going from being strong, independent, intelligent people that have accomplished amazing things, to quickly declining in their mental capacities and not being able to remember even basic things that they have known all their lives.  They go from having engaging conversations for hours to not knowing what was said in a conversation 10 minutes ago.

It is clear why Alzheimer’s disease and depression go hand in hand.

I have done a lot of study in this area over the years and believe that it is a disease that could over time, either stop before it starts, slow down in the process or reverse itself if we can figure out the best way to heal our brain through our gut.

As elderly patients begin to have the dementia of Alzheimer’s and realize they are forgetting things they don’t want to forget, it can be both frustrating as well as depressing. They may tend to get angry more often as well because of how they are feeling.

There are ways to help both memory and depression, with supplements and foods that we eat. By taking steps to change how we eat early on, or helping elderly Alzheimer’s patients to eat differently, there are ways to slow down or help with symptoms of the disease. 

Here are some of the supplements and foods I have learned through research can help:

  • A well-known way to help with depression as well as brain function is by ingesting fish oil. 9-10 grams a day of fish oil has shown to help with depression. You can get fish oil from eating fish or from taking a supplement daily.
  • High dose folate is also shown to help with depression.  Foods that contain folate are leafy greens.
  • B12 is found in meat sources and is a help in boosting mood. If B12 is low you may want to consider B12 injections, especially for people that do not eat meat at all or very little amounts of it.   
  • Vitamin D is good for brain receptors at 1000-4000 IU daily with food. You can find it in whole milk, salmon, oysters, sardines, tuna fish and butter. You can also take a supplement. Vitamin D can help with the prevention of different parts of neurodegenerative or neuroimmune diseases.
  • Meat, cheese, and fried foods increase the risk of Alzheimer’s.  What we think are healthy foods are not always and you want to lessen how much you eat of these as well as how you cook them, so they are less damaging.
  • Vitamin E has been proven to help with increasing the cognitive function of Alzheimer’s patients.  1000 IU per day is the top dosage. Foods that contain Vitamin E include almonds, peanuts, peanut butter, sunflower seeds, pumpkin, red bell pepper, collard greens and spinach.
  • Vitamin C is found to be lower in Alzheimer’s patients. That can be helped by increasing citrus foods or taking a supplement daily. Nerve endings in the brain contain the highest concentrations of Vitamin C in the human body. 
  • Grape Juice, Berries and Walnuts are all proven to help with Alzheimer’s disease by helping to enhance cognitive and motor function.
  • A diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and nuts with high levels of Vitamin E and Folate was found to be highly protective against the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Most micronutrients can help with cerebral function. B vitamins are important to have in your system. Vitamin B1 modulates cognitive performance, especially in the elderly. Vitamin B9 preserves the brains development and memory during ageing. Vitamin B6 is helpful when treating depression.
  • Vitamin B12 delays the onset of signs of dementia if it is administered in a precise clinical timing window, before the onset of the first symptoms.  I would suggest asking your doctor for more information on this.  

These are all various ways to support the brain when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease or depression. Food is a big way of supporting our bodies and often it is overlooked because people think medications are better.  In the case of the brain, most issues come from the micronutrients and vitamin deficiencies we have from eating the wrong foods. These can be easy steps to improving your cognitive function and improving your mood before you are in desperate need of doing those things.

Sources used:

The Nutritional Approach to Anxiety and Depression

A Nutritional Approach to Alzheimer’s Disease