Potential treatment options are listed below in order from most effective to least effective, as determined by TeddyCanHeal's advanced software. Not every treatment will work for everyone, so talk to your doctor to determine what will be best for your individual needs. Many treatments may also be used in combination with one another or with medication.
Along with other B vitamins, vitamin B6 is believed to help prevent Alzheimer's disease and other forms of age-related cognitive decline. Like vitamin B12, it is important to regulating the levels of homocysteine in the body. As mentioned in the chapter on B12, homocysteine is harmful in large concentrations and is thought to play a role in the development of Alzheimer's. It is hoped that supplementing the diet with B6 and/or similar substances, the concentration of homocysteine can be brought down to a safer level.
Vitamin B6 also has antioxidant properties that are unrelated to its ability to regulate homocysteine. As discussed in the chapter on vitamin E, antioxidants convey a number of health benefits, including the ability to fight off damaging chemicals in the brain that contribute to the development of neurodegenerative diseases. While the evidence for B6s benefits to those with dementia are not as strong as some of the previously mentioned treatments, the fact it conveys two separate beneficial activities to brain function makes it a promising option.
While it has not gotten as much attention as vitamin B12, multiple studies have investigated the relationship between vitamin B6 and dementia and its potential role as a treatment. A study published in 2002 looked at the relationship between B6 levels, homocysteine levels, and the incidence of cerebrovascular disease in people with Alzheimer's. They found that unusually low levels of vitamin B6 were prevalent in people with Alzheimer's, and also reported a correlation between elevated levels of homocysteine and the development of cerebrovascular disease. They conclude their report by calling for future studies investigating vitamin B6 as a potential treatment for Alzheimer's.
In 2006, another study looked at the relationship between dietary intake of B6 and other B vitamins and the risk of developing Parkinsons later in life. The researchers found that Higher dietary intake of vitamin B6 was associated with a significantly decreased risk of PD [Parkinsons]. While B6s effects on homocysteine could definitely be beneficial, they hypothesized that it was actually its antioxidant properties that accounted for most of its protective effect.
Blueberries contain large amounts of chemicals known as polyphenols, many of which are known for their antioxidant effects. As mentioned in previous chapters, antioxidants help protect cells against the damaging effects of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and may be able to help prevent and treat dementia.
Consumption of blueberries and other foods like them is also associated with improvements in brain function and memory, and they have benefits for cancer and heart disease too.
Numerous studies have investigated the beneficial effects of blueberries on cognitive health. In 1999, researchers fed rats extracts from blueberries, strawberries, and spinach (all of which are antioxidant-rich) over an eight-week period and found the diets to be effective in reversing age-related deficits in several neuronal and behavioral parameters. A similar study was conducted in 2008, with mice being fed polyphenol-rich wild blueberry extract for seven days and then participating in various tasks to test their cognitive performance. Significant cognitive enhancement was reported, with improvements being credited to increased antioxidant levels and a reduction in the activity of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase.
Another rodent-based experiment was conducted in 2013, which investigated the impact of a blueberry-rich diet on rodents with a genetic predisposition to developing Alzheimer's. The blueberry diet improved signaling in the brain and helped them to retain their cognitive abilities, suggesting that it may be possible to overcome a genetic predisposition to Alzheimer's through diet.
Not all studies have been limited to mice and rats, either. In 2010, researchers looked at the impact of daily consumption of blueberry juice on memory capabilities in elderly human adults. When compared to the control group (who were not given blueberry juice), those undergoing the treatment showed notable improvement in their cognitive abilities. The authors concluded by calling for more studies investigating the beneficial effects of blueberries on mental health.