The number of Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease is rising at an alarming rate. A 2023 statistic estimated that 6.7 million Americans aged 65 and older currently have Alzheimer’s disease. About 73% of those people are aged 75 or older. Currently, about one in nine people over the age of 65 has Alzheimer’s, and almost two-thirds of Americans with the disease are women.
According to statistics, older Black Americans are almost twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias as older White Americans. Older Hispanics are about one and one-half times as likely to develop Alzheimer’s as older White Americans. As the size of the U.S. population continues to grow, so too will the number of people with Alzheimer’s. In fact, the projected number of people with Alzheimer’s disease in 2050 is 12.7 million. That may change depending on medical breakthroughs and treatment options for the disease.
What Is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Not only is Alzheimer’s disease difficult for the people afflicted with it, but also the loved ones around them. This form of dementia, as previously detailed, is on the rise, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. The disease currently costs the U.S. $345 billion for treatment, and that cost is estimated to reach almost $1 trillion by 2050. The numbers are troubling and scary, illustrating the need for prevention.
New Study Finds That Alzheimer’s Patients Have Lower Levels Of Certain Nutrients
Researchers from RUSH University Memory and Aging Project in Chicago and the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine whether or not nutrient levels differed from regular brains to those affected by Alzheimer’s. The hypothesis was that micronutrients are much lower in donor brains with Alzheimer’s than healthy elderly brains. What the researchers found was that brains of Alzheimer’s patients had lower levels of specific micronutrients.
In order to test the hypothesis, researchers had to examine samples of donor brains with Alzheimer’s. They dissected them into gray and white matter after analyzing cognitive performance and diets of participants in the 10-year study. Researchers focused on their intake of carotenoids specifically. What they found was that the brains of Alzheimer’s patients were significantly lower in the following carotenoids:
What Does This Mean?
The researchers noted that study participants who followed the MIND diet had a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease. MIND diet followers also showed better cognitive performance on tests and less Alzheimer’s-related brain pathology. Researchers attribute that to the fact that the MIND diet is rich in foods that contain carotenoids, antioxidants, and other micronutrients.
For the first time, this is a study that demonstrates deficits in integral dietary antioxidants in Alzheimer’s brains. What’s more is that these results are consistent with large population studies. Other studies found that the risk of Alzheimer’s disease was significantly lower in people who ate carotenoid-rich diets. Not only that, but the study authors believe that carotenoid-rich diets can help with overall brain function, regardless of age.
Studies like this one help inform health experts of how dietary shifts may aid in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease, or at least slow the progression. The hope is that this data motivates people to keep their brains in optimum condition. It is true that you can eat for your brain! You can click here to learn more about that. The main thing is to eat a lot of colorful fruits and vegetables, as they have a diverse mix of antioxidants and carotenoids.