Can Diet Protect Me From Dementia?

Risk of dementia relates dramatically to the foods we choose to consume. Diet can have a profound, preventive impact on dementia and Alzheimer’s disease risk. Dementia can be prevented, and we know how to do that today: with dietary changes, and healthy (natural) fats. Avocados, grass-fed beef, organic olive oil, and wild-caught fish can help you build a better brain.

  • Laurie124

    Hi Dr Perlmutter – My 80 year old mom has dementia. I have had her on your Grain Brain diet and supplements for 7 months now and she has showed improvement! Even her neurologist found improvement in her cognitive testing! I am not expecting miracles, but is there anything more I can do for her? You don’t mention pre- existing conditions that I am aware of. I am following your protocol too and feel great as well as losing weight. Thanks!!

    • David Perlmutter

      Glad to hear of this success Laurie! Wonderful news for your mom. Work with her neurologist to drive the program further. Perhaps some light exercise, like walking, could be incorporated now.

    • Lee Shu Ping

      Hi Laurie please can we share some information I am attempting to do the same for my 90 year old grandmother.

  • Gladys

    Dr. Perlmutter,
    We are from Albuquerque, New Mexico and we were wondering if there
    is a neurologist here that has the same program as you do. My husband
    had NPH and had a shunt place in 2006 in Houston, Texas. Balance was
    perfect after the shunt was placed, but several years ago he had little seizures,
    and the neurologist had him take Keppra Time release 500 mg daily. Now
    he is on regular release and is still at 500, but taking it 250mg in the morning,
    and 250mg in the evening. Our problem is that it makes him so groggy,
    and bland feeling. There hasn’t been anymore seizures. We saw your program this past Friday on PBS and were most impressed and felt like there
    was hope ! We just moved about 6 months ago from Houston, and now
    we are trying to find a neurologist here which is very difficult for we had
    lived here before, and moved to Houston. Now we are back, and
    needing someone like you here in Albuquerque. Taking Keppra makes you
    feel like you can’t remember things and he feels like his life could be
    better. Hope that you can help us.
    Thank you, and hope to hear from you soon.

    • David Perlmutter
      • Gladys

        I tried the website functionalmedicine.org/pra,
        but didn’t get an answer for a list of neurologists that live
        in Albuquerque, New Mexico that we could see that would
        understand your concept. From what we have read, you have
        the best information ! Hope you can find a neurologist in
        Albuquerque for us. Thanks, Gladys

    • Gladys

      Thank you for responding so quickly. I looked up the website
      and didn’t see a name of a neurologist that practices in
      Albuquerque, New Mexico that shares the same thoughts as you.
      Also, what supplements do you recommend ? Thank you for all
      your help. Really do appreciate it . You bring a new ray of hope
      to our situation. Will look forward to your reply.

      • David Perlmutter

        My suggested supplement regimen can be found here: drperlmutter.com/grain-brain-seven-super-supplements/

        • Gladys


  • Cristina4Jesus

    Dear Dr. Perlmutter,
    Will you be doing a supplement list for kids with Aspergers and/or autism? That is an issue in so many families today and we wonder what you would recommend.

    • Lynn Dell

      Christina, Dr. Hyman has this article which is very worthwhile. The take home point for me was you have to find out many things, including but not limited to toxic chemical build up, food sensitivities, nutritional deficiencies, the condition of the gut and bowel flora, anything known about genetics that would affect cellular function particularly in the mitochondria, etc.. In short, you have to determine the cause of the symptoms we call the autism spectrum, and there may be more than one cause. Anyway, here is one article, and you can search on his site the terms you may be concerned about: http://drhyman.com/blog/2010/05/12/can-autism-be-cured/

  • Lindsay

    Hello, do you encourage the paleo lifestyle or do you suggest keto as paleo might have more carbs? For family members who aren’t onboard with keto, paleo seems more practical.

  • Donald

    Interesting information. Triglycerides? Ultra high levels are now being treated with drugs like Vascepa. While I don’t take it, I do wonder if triglycerides are part of cholesterol and that if those in field of cardiology are possibly keeping the heart healthy at the expense of the cognitive function of the brain.

    I was tested for celiac, which was negative. However, after reducing then eliminating gluten the spinal arthritis condition I have has improved. While there is no cure, management of the condition has greatly improved with diet and now requires less oral NSAID’s.

    While this has helped me, the best thing you can do is spread the word and teach the next generation how to make healthy food choices. The younger you are when you start, the greater the benefit. Even our teenagers are having their diet slowly altered to make it 80/20 eating with a goal of 90/10.

    Enjoyed your segment on WSB-95.5 in Atlanta last weekend with Belinda Skelton.

  • Di

    It seems that Alzheimer’s runs in my family – my great grandmother, my granddad’s three sisters had it and now my mum has it. Do you think that diet and lifestyle changes can prevent Alzheimer’s in people with a high genetic risk?

    • Lynn Dell
    • Lynn Dell

      Here is another link to the same study where Dr. Perlmutter is mentioned because at some point he dealt with one of the women involved and this article points out that a lot of the protocol of the study is the grain brain recommendations. She has 2 apoe4 genes and she made improvements: http://www.cnn.com/2014/12/08/health/alzheimers-reversal/

      • Lynn Dell

        And here is another link that spells out some general recommendations clearly, except the form of vitamin b12 is not the usual form you may get in a multivitamin, but I believe (not 100% sure) the participants took b12 as methylcobalamin. This is the form of b12 in methyl edge on the nutrient page of this site, and after some consideration I think I may get it for my husband to try. Not for memory issues, though. But that is an aside, here is the other link: http://www.alternet.org/ways-avoid-alzheimers

  • Tomas Lund

    Dear Dr. Perlmutter,
    What are your thoughts on the 80/10/10 raw diet recommended by Dr. Doug Graham? They promote a great deal of fresh fruit, but my concern is the amount of fructose that you will ingest. Is this too much sugar in your diet?

  • agreed

    is it safe for people with severe & recurrent major depressive disorder to not eat carbohydrates? I’ve heard those with depression should avoid low carb diets. I’ve also read that carbohydrates void of all fat/protein/fruit/fructose are good for curbing the appetites of people who gain a massive amount of weight as a result of antidepressants (regardless of diet/exercise).

    I have severe & very recurrent major depressive disorder/dysthymia (double depression) & I’m only 20 however I refuse to be uncontrollably obese/overweight (regardless of diet/exercise) for the rest of my life because of the side effects from the medication for my severe major depression disorder. I would rather stay depressed & suffer from the deadly consequences than gain the weight & suffer from the other side effects from the medication.

    For me, diet, supplements, hydration, sleep, exercise, cbt, problem solving therapy, stress reducers, are literally my only hope. Can you make an article about a diet for those with depression & talk about tyrosine, tryptophan, phenylalanine, amino acid competition/brain barrier competition or how there are many seratonin receptors in the gut & how to heal the gut for those with depression & stress?

    I want to see if there’s anything more I can be doing diet wise – like eating certain foods at certain times so that more amino acids get through to the brain / strategies to lessen competition for amino acids so that more tryptophan/seratonin/tyrosine is getting through to my brain.

  • Lisa Muzic

    Kirkland Organic EVOO from Costco is actually 100% olive oil unlike many other brands on the market today. It is an excellent choice. I also found avocado oil at Costco.

  • Colleen Ballew

    Dr. Perlmutter, it’s too late to do anything preventative for my mom, but since she came to live with me, she’s been eating my way (like your way) and she doesn’t suffer from the radical mood swings and anger that she did when she first came. Her sugar cravings are gone. Since she doesn’t consume much sugar anymore, her memory loss has slowed down significantly. I’ve also noticed that when she does get large amounts of sugar, i.e. there were lots of treats around the holidays, and I took her to get ice cream after she went to the doctor, when she fell and hurt herself…anytime she has a large amount of sugar, she becomes agitated, angry, and throws things. Most of the time she’s happy and loving. She LOVES her green drink every morning and only puts 1/2 tsp sugar in her coffee, down from 3, and I need to mention here, it was her doing, not mine. She watches my documentaries with me and wants to reduce her sugar…most of the time. She does love her ice cream though. I recommend following this kind of diet even for early to late stages of dementia. It helps, it really does. I’ve seen it first hand!.

  • Tonyandmirit Webb

    What would you recommend for radiation/surgical damage to a pediatric brain?

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