A group of world-renowned brain health scientists have come together to launch Alzheimer’s Prevention Day, which takes place on May 15th. The day aims to spread awareness of the scientifically proven methods that can prevent Alzheimer’s.

Contrary to common belief, genetics account for only about one in a hundred cases of Alzheimer’s, with lifestyle and dietary factors playing a significant role. The newly assembled team hopes to bust the misconception surrounding genetics and Alzheimer’s, redirecting focus towards nutritional and lifestyle factors that can lead to the disease instead.

According to Professor Jin-Tai Yu from Fudan University in Shanghai, targeting known risk factors such as homocysteine-lowering B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish could potentially prevent up to 80% of dementia cases. “With no clinically effective drugs, and minimal role of genes our focus must be on making diet and lifestyle changes that reduce risk of developing dementia.” says Professor David Smith, former Deputy Head of the University of Oxford’s Medical Science division. His research has demonstrated up to 73% less brain shrinkage in individuals given B vitamin supplements with sufficient omega-3, emphasising the critical role of diet and lifestyle changes in reducing dementia risk.

The expert group, comprising 30 leading brain health scientists from across the globe, is spearheading Alzheimer’s Prevention Day on May 15th with the website alzheimersprevention.info. This platform offers a wealth of resources from personalized assessments of future Alzheimer’s risk factors, and practical guidance on risk reduction strategies.

Alongside Omega 3 and B-vitamin intake, dietary modifications emerge as a key theme among the experts, with Dr Robert Lustig, Emeritus Professor of pediatrics from the University of California, advocating for reduced sugar intake, highlighting fructose as a primary driver of Alzheimer’s. Harvard-trained psychiatrist Dr Georgia Ede also recommends cutting carbohydrates. “Alzheimer’s is sometimes called ‘type 3 diabetes’ because 80% of cases show insulin resistance, which makes it difficult for the brain to use carbohydrate for energy. A ketogenic diet improves insulin resistance and generates ketones from fat to help energize the brain.” She says. 

Lifestyle factors including heavy alcohol consumption, sleep and an active lifestyle are also named as pivotal factors in Alzheimer’s prevention.

As Patrick Holford from foodforthebrain.org underscores, “Alzheimer’s takes several decades to develop and we largely know what’s driving it. We need to change the paradigm towards making prevention a reality. That’s what Alzheimer’s Prevention Day is all about.”

Find out more at alzheimersprevention.info.