Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the onset of cognitive decline and dementia, affects more than 5 million Americans. The high prevalence of this condition is a result of the aging American population, with almost twice as many people expected to develop Alzheimer’s in the United States over the next 20 years. One of the leading causes of Alzheimer’s is exposure to amyloid-beta protein, which causes a buildup in brain tissue.
There are many ways to prevent or delay cognitive decline. Still, one promising way is to incorporate essential amino acids into your daily diet to reduce amyloid-beta protein levels. Recent studies have shown how essential amino acids may be key to preventing the cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Here is what you need to know about essential amino acids, and how they could help prevent or treat dementia.
What Are Essential Amino Acids?
Essential amino acids are protein-building blocks that the body cannot produce and must come from food or supplements. They are necessary in order to maintain many bodily functions, including muscle growth, increased neurotransmitter levels, increased production of hormones and healthy skin.
But what is essential for Alzheimer’s disease is that they can prevent or delay cognitive decline. They help to reduce amyloid-beta protein levels in the brain that can cause Alzheimer’s.
Benefits of Essential Amino Acids
Essential amino acids are important for maintaining cognitive function, neurotransmitter release and brain signaling. They are also critical in producing protein and other vital compounds for healthy brain cells.
Amino acids have been shown to decrease amyloid-beta protein levels by 20%. Researchers have found that these essential amino acids can be found in animal products, but they may not provide enough benefits due to the insufficient amount required daily. Plant sources of essential amino acids, such as soybeans and peanuts, may be a more viable alternative since they have been shown to have a similar effect on amyloid-beta protein levels as animal sources.
To lower your risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease or delay cognitive decline, try adding an essential amino acid supplement to your diet.
Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention
Many people are unaware of the connection between amyloid-beta protein and Alzheimer’s. But if you are concerned about your risk, there are some things you can do to reduce your exposure.
One of the most important ways to prevent or delay cognitive decline is by incorporating essential aminos into your daily diet. Aminos are typically found in animal products such as meat and dairy, but they can also be found in plants. However, these dietary sources may not be enough as you need at least 10 grams per day for optimal benefits. So, how can you increase your intake of essential aminos?
A study conducted by the National Institute on Aging found that amyloid-beta protein levels were lower when participants followed a low-animal protein diet for one week compared to those who followed a high-animal protein diet or a high-dairy diet. Essentially, low-animal protein diets help control amyloid-beta levels in the brain, making it less likely that an individual will develop dementia early in life.
How Amino Acids Can Reduce Amyloid-Beta Protein Levels
A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that dietary essential amino acids are necessary to maintain healthy cognitive function. Researchers found that amyloid-beta protein levels were significantly lower in mice that consumed essential aminos. The study also found that these levels dropped even more when the animals supplemented their diet with antioxidants.
Here are some ways you can supplement your diet with essential amino acids:
- Consume animal products, which are high in protein and other nutrients, such as meat, dairy and eggs
- Increase consumption of plant-based proteins, which include beans, soy products, nuts, seeds and vegetables
- Consider adding an amino acid supplement to your daily regimen
Frequently, it is difficult for people to get 10 grams of essential amino acids daily from food alone. So, if you’re looking for a way to reduce amyloid-beta protein levels without medication or experimental treatments, consider adding an amino acid supplement to your daily regimen.
There’s no cure for Alzheimer’s disease as of yet, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t take steps to reduce your risk of developing it. One of the best ways to do this is by incorporating essential amino acids into your diet. These are ones that your body can’t produce, so you must get them through food. Foods rich in essential amino acids are found in animal products, such as meat, eggs, dairy, and plant-based foods like beans and peas. Essential amino acids may be vital in keeping dementia at bay, so make sure you’re getting enough of them daily.