Herbal supplements for dementia appear to help to increase blood flow to the brain and improve antioxidant levels
Dementia is one of the most heartbreaking and difficult diseases — not only because people lose their memories, but also for the toll it takes on families and caregivers. Turns out that, according to experts, there are some supplements for dementia that can help support cognitive health for senior patients.
Daniel Powers, MS, supplements expert and founder of the Botanical Institute, answered our questions about these types of supplements. What follows is the interview, edited for length and clarity.
What are the top 5 supplements that support cognitive health for senior patients?
- Vitamin B Complex
Studies show that the various B-vitamins, including vitamins B12, B6, B1, B2, niacin (B3), and folate (B9), have been shown to have protective effects against cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Vitamin D
Research shows a significant correlation between vitamin D deficiency and both dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)
Research shows that ginkgo can help to support brain health and slow cognitive decline. Ginkgo works by improving blood flow to the brain. It also acts as a powerful antioxidant in the brain.
- Lions Mane Mushroom (Hericium erinaceus)
Studies show that the phytochemicals found in Lions Mane mushrooms have been found to promote the expression of neurotrophic factors that are associated with cell proliferation such as nerve growth factors, which are key for long-term cognitive health.
- Bacopa (Bacopa monnieri)
Research shows that bacopa has neuroprotective effects. It’s thought that bacopa might increase certain brain chemicals that are involved in thinking, learning, and memory. It might also protect brain cells from chemicals involved in Alzheimer’s disease.
How do these supplements for dementia help stop mental decline?
Vitamin D and the B vitamins have been shown to help to prevent dementia, and if you have a deficiency, it means that your body is unable to regulate standard bodily processes.
As for the herbal supplements, these don’t have as clear of an indicator of helping to prevent dementia. However, they do appear to help to increase blood flow to the brain and improve antioxidant levels, which are beneficial for long-term cognitive health.
Do these supplements for dementia help people who already have been diagnosed?
Yes, the vitamins help to provide key nutrients that are needed for brain health. The herbs can help to protect cognitive health, improve blood to the brain, and reduce brain inflammation.
Should all senior patients be taking theses supplements?
For the vitamins (vitamin D and the Bs), yes, everyone should aim to get optimally daily amounts. Taking a good quality multivitamin can help with this.
For the herbal supplements mentioned above, for patients it’s best to ask your personal health care provider before starting a new supplements for dementia regimen.
When should chiropractors recommend these supplements to their senior patients, and how much?
When a chiropractor has good knowledge and history with a patient and the patient is asking, I think that’s the perfect time for a chiropractor to make a recommendation.
One of the common mistakes that individuals make is taking too much, too fast. It’s best to try out 1-2 new supplements at a time. See how your body and brain react. Reassess as you go along.