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.
Vitamin K is often overlooked, but has many important roles to play within the body. It helps promote blood clotting as well as regulating calcium in the bones and brain. More recently, it has received attention for its neurological benefits, anti-aging effects, and potential role in fighting cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis.
For dementia patients, it is vitamin K’s role as a calcium regulator that is most important. If the level of vitamin K in the body drops too low, unregulated calcium runs amok, which can cause harm to the brain. Vitamin K deficiency is common in the elderly, and people with genes that make them more likely to develop Alzheimer’s often have unusually low concentrations of vitamin K in their blood. It is thought that at least some of the neurological damage seen in Alzheimer’s is due to low vitamin K levels and subsequent calcium-related damage. Because of this, it is thought that adding vitamin K to the diet could help reduce neuronal damage and treat the symptoms of the disease. It may also be beneficial for those with other forms of dementia.
Leafy greens are one of the best sources of vitamin K. It can also be found in vegetable oils (nonhydrogenated ones), broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, spinach, fish, and eggs. It is also available as a supplement.
Like vitamin D, much of the work that has been done around vitamin K and dementia has focused on establishing a link between vitamin K deficiencies and the development of the syndrome. In 2005, researchers looked at the relationship between Alzheimer’s, bone mineral density, and vitamin K levels in elderly women. Those who had severe Alzheimer’s were found to have significantly lower K concentrations than those with milder Alzheimer’s. In 2008, another study monitored food consumption and vitamin K intake in people with or without Alzheimer’s disease. Their findings showed that those with the disease were getting significantly less vitamin K in their diets.
Like many of the other treatments on this list, vitamin C is an antioxidant. As mentioned in previous sections, antioxidants help the body fight off harmful chemicals and protect against damage known as oxidative stress, which is believed to be a component of many neurodegenerative diseases. Additionally, vitamin C helps produce neurotransmitters that are important to proper brain function.
Unlike some of the other vitamins and nutrients on this list, vitamin C cannot be produced by the body and must be obtained from food or dietary supplements. Foods rich in vitamin C include apples, berries, broccoli, cabbage, citrus fruits, various types of melons, dark leafy greens, peppers, and tomatoes. As long as it is consumed in safe amounts (75-90mg per day is the recommended intake), vitamin C is safe and produces little to no side-effects.
Numerous studies have investigated the benefits of vitamin C for preventing or treating dementia. A study published in 1998 investigated antioxidant levels in patients with various forms of dementia and found that people with Alzheimer’s, vascular dementia, and Parkinson’s-type dementia all had unusually low levels of vitamin C. Overall antioxidant levels were observed to be low across all dementia groups, and the authors hypothesized that these reduced levels were the result of antioxidants being used to fight oxidative stress faster than the body could replenish them.
Much of the research into treating dementia with vitamin supplements has used a combination of vitamin C and vitamin E. In 1998, researchers found that those taking E and C supplements had a lower chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease than would be expected from statistics alone. And in 2004, another study involving more than 4,500 participants found that taking E and C supplements together helped reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
In 2000, researchers investigated whether vitamin E and C supplements could protect against other forms of cognitive decline and dementia. The study involved more than 3,000 patients, and found that the supplements provided a “significant protective effect” for those with vascular dementia. Benefits for those with mixed dementia were also observed.