Best way to stop memory loss is not from pills or supplements

2013-04-16 09:15

Healthy older adults may want to skip vitamins, supplements and other drugs in hopes of keeping memory intact with aging. A review published by researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital shows even the hormone estrogen for women might accelerate rather than protect from memory loss, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Understanding if there are real benefits for brain health from supplements, drugs or hormones is important. In some cases, vitamins in excess can lead to ill health effects, found in multiple studies.

Estrogen for memory decline has been suggested in the past, but some studies show taking hormones might accelerate loss of memory and poor judgment that can accompany aging.

Dr. Raza Naqvi, a University of Toronto resident and lead author of a new review said in a press release, the finding can give doctors and patients clues about strategies for preventing and treating dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

The authors note problems with memory occur in 10 to 20 percent of aging adults each year.

The finding was taken from an analysis of 32 clinical trials that included 25000 patients.

The results showed no strong evidence that drugs known as cholinesterase inhibitors help for improve memory, yet they are often prescribed for Alzheimer’s disease. Examples of the drugs include donepezil, galantamine and rivastigmine that block the breakdown of a chemical messenger in the brain known as acetylcholine.

Vitamins and fatty acids such as vitamin B6 or omega-3 fatty acids and the herbal supplement gingko were found to be no benefit for memory improvement.

Despite suggestions that physical activity promotes brain health and mental sharpness with aging, the current study found very weak evidence that exercise activity including strength training is beneficial.

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Brain training may be best


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I am 64 years old and my memory has been bad for years and keeps getting worse. I would like any info i can get to help prevent Alzheimer's.
Catherine, the very best advice I can give you to prevent Alzheimer's is what we wrote here. Eat a healthy diet - Mediterranean foods are shown to be beneficial - keep your mind active by playing brain games and definitely talk to your doctor to see if medication can help. Please also contact your local Alzheimer's Association. They have many publications they can send you. The link to the National Alzheimer's Association so you can read and be completely informed is here: Review all of your medicines with your doctor also to find out if any of them could possibly contribute to memory loss, which is always possible. Several drugs are known to do that. Read up on them also on your own (if you are taking any).