Nutrition and Dementia


Written by Joshua Garcia and Arlan Jondonero


What is Dementia? What causes Dementia?

Dementia is a chronic or progressive illness that causes cognitive performance to deteriorate beyond what would be expected from normal aging. Dementia symptoms appear gradually and progress as time passes. Memory loss, speech and language difficulties, agnosia, apraxia, and decreased executive function such as reasoning and judgment are some of the cognitive deficiencies it causes.[1]

In clinical practice, a complete patient history, physical examination, cognitive assessment, and laboratory testing are used to diagnose dementia. Risk factors for dementia include family history, depression, frequent head trauma, and also cardiometabolic factors.[1]

Pub by Diego Caña and Cyril Abbyline Pedir


How nutrition plays a role in cognitive function?

Nutrients and other dietary components are necessary for appropriate brain physiological activity and neuronal protection against cell injury and oxidative stress.[2]


Proper diet for aiding Dementia

Foods to consume

There is substantial evidence for the promising preventative effects of vitamin E, vitamin B, and n-3 fatty acids after just over two decades of study on nutrition and dementia.[2][3] Green leafy vegetables and other vegetables, berries, and seafood are among the foods showing indications of neuroprotection.[2]

Foods to avoid

On the other hand, food that consists of a lot of saturated fat has unfavorable effects on people with dementia. Higher saturated fat intakes are associated with an increased risk of dementia and a faster rate of cognitive deterioration in prospective epidemiological investigations of dietary fat composition.[4]

Studies suggest that although healthy diets may help prevent cognitive decline, dietary restrictions on patients with dementia may lead to worse malnutrition and quality of life.[5] Limiting factors such as budget and food preferences could further decrease choices for alternative sources of nutrition that the patient can tolerate. It should be carefully taken into consideration whether the potential risks would far outweigh the benefits before drastically modifying a patient’s diet. Hence, consultation and regular monitoring by a qualified physician and dietitian are advised. 

TERMS OF USE

The contents of this article are for educational purposes and are not intended as a substitute for professional or personal medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Seek advice from your mental health professional or other qualified health providers about any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this page/website.


References

[1] Duong, S., Patel, T., & Chang, F. (2017). Dementia: What pharmacists need to know. Canadian pharmacists journal : CPJ = Revue des pharmaciens du Canada : RPC, 150(2), 118–129. https://doi.org/10.1177/1715163517690745

[2] Morris, M. (2012). Nutritional determinants of cognitive aging and dementia. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 71(1), 1-13. doi:10.1017/S0029665111003296

[3] Vlachos, G. S., & Scarmeas, N. (2022). Dietary interventions in mild cognitive impairment and dementia. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, 21(1), 69-82. https://doi.org/10.31887/DCNS.2019.21.1/nscarmeas

[4] Morris, M. C., & Tangney, C. C. (2014). Dietary fat composition and dementia risk. Neurobiology of aging, 35 Suppl 2, S59–S64. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2014.03.038

[5] Yerstein, O., & Mendez, M. F. (2020). Dietary recommendations for patients with dementia. Alzheimer’s & dementia (New York, N. Y.), 6(1), e12011. https://doi.org/10.1002/trc2.12011

In a time of a global health crisis, mental health issues have drastically increased due to the lack of physical, emotional, and spiritual connection. In line with this, the Philippine Association of Nutrition Alpha Chapter presents you #MentalHealthMatters #MentalHealthMondays.

This project aims to promote mental health information in the aspect of nutrition. 

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