Skip vitamins, focus on lifestyle to avoid dementia

News briefs

Vitamins and supplements won't help stave off dementia, but a healthy lifestyle might, suggest new guidelines released May 19, 2019, by the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO warns that the number of new dementia cases around the world — currently 10 million per year — is set to triple by 2050. While there's no cure for any kind of dementia (such as Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia), the WHO says it may be possible to delay the onset of the disease or slow its progression. The key: managing modifiable risks, such as chronic disease and unhealthy habits. The guidelines recommend that you keep your weight, cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar under control; get lots of exercise; and eat a Mediterranean-style diet (which emphasizes olive oil, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and fish; minimizes red meats and processed meats; and includes a moderate amount of cheese and wine). The WHO also advises that you don't smoke and you avoid harmful use of alcohol (no more than one drink per day for women, no more than two drinks for men). But don't count on supplements to help you stave off dementia. The WHO says there's no evidence that vitamin B, vitamin E, multivitamins, or fish oil supplements help reduce the risk for dementia. The agency recommends against using supplements as a means to ward off cognitive decline.

Image: © kali9/Getty Images

Disclaimer:
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.