While it would be nice to prevent dementia simply by popping a magic pill, sadly such a pill has not yet been discovered. Currently there is no drug or intervention that can cure dementia. However, research has uncovered many clues to the development of dementia that can help us understand how we may be able to prevent or delay the disease’s progression.
New research into neuroplasticity suggests learning, thinking and acting can change the brain's physical structure and functional organisation. We have come to learn that the human brain has the potential to change itself from its former conditioning. Consequently, being active physically, mentally and socially have all been shown to have protective effects against dementia. Such activities include dancing, reading, playing board games and cards, social interactions, doing crosswords, playing musical instruments, and problem-solving. Any kind of cognitive stimulation or mentally stimulating activity is beneficial in preventing dementia since it creates connections between the neurons which are more resilient to the deterioration seen in this condition.
Although a number of supplements have been studied with regard to dementia prevention, there has been no consistent evidence of benefit shown. However, a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids has been shown to protect the brain against dementia. Hence, food such as fish, nuts and vegetables may help prevent dementia. Taking omega-3 supplements, such as Blackmores Omega Brain and Absolute Omega may have similar effects.
Essential fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D and E are strongly correlated with positive health effects on mental performance and cognition. This is because the human brain is made up of a large amount of fatty tissue. Due to the fatty tissue, the brain is susceptible to oxidation. As such, the above-mentioned fat-soluble vitamins, as well as zinc and selenium, are all potent antioxidants which help to prevent dementia. Supplements that are available include Lifestream Natural Selenium and Lifestream Red Acai Supreme Antioxidant.
The herb Bacopa monniera (brahmi) has also shown significant positive attributes in improving mental capacity and protecting the neurological system. Gingko biloba (gingko) has been known for optimising brain function, cognition and memory. Supplements that encompass these constituents include Blackmores Ginkgo Forte, Bioglan Brahmi Plus PS Plus Ginko Focus and Australian by Nature Ginkgo 2500. Other useful combination formulations include Caruso’s Memory Recall and Efalex Active Mind.