Dementia And Nutrition

What is dementia?

Dementia is a neuro-cognitive disorder. It is not a disease, but a group of symptoms that includes issues with thinking, memorization, decision-making, and language, which affect daily tasks. It is mostly developed at an older age and is not associated with the normal ageing process. Dementia occurs when healthy neurons in the brain stop working or die, and as a result cannot communicate with other neurons. Dementia has different types, with intensity from mild to severe, which can progress over time.1

Symptoms of dementia

The symptoms of dementia make it difficult to perform everyday routine tasks and bring about cognitive and psychological changes to the body.

  • Memory Loss: Difficulty recognizing faces, inability to identify objects, forgetting directions, and misplacing things.
  • Confusion: Confusion when doing normal routine tasks, asking the same question repetitively, and being disoriented with the time and place.
  • Loss of Communication: Difficulty finding the right words to communicate and unable to exchange conversation.
  • Behavioral Changes: Mood changes are the most common symptoms, feeling frustrated and anxious for not doing small tasks, which can be changed to the feeling of sadness.
  • Loss of interest: No longer doing things that one was interested in before and becomes socially distanced. 
  • Repeated Behaviour: Doing repeated things and asking the same question to feel reassured and comforted.
  • Visual difficulty: Blurred vision, difficulty in adjusting to the light and reading, and unable to process distance due to changes in the brain.2

Poor diet is a risk factor for dementia

People aged 60 or over are likely to develop dementia. Studies suggested that a poor diet and unhealthy lifestyle contribute to the risk of developing dementia because a lack of a nutritious diet affects the process of neurogenesis in the brain. Neurogenesis involves the production of brain cells. People who have processed food in their diet or suffer from malnutrition are more likely to develop dementia and difficulties with their cognitive abilities. Consuming food that includes high sugar and sodium content with fewer essential nutrients leads to an inflammatory process in the body and affects memory.

Are any deficiencies associated with dementia?

Nutritional deficiencies are directly associated with dementia, and a diet that lacks essential vitamins impacts cognitive abilities. However, dementia that is caused due to nutritional deficiency can be treated by adding the required amount of vitamin supplements to the diet.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B has a positive impact on brain health by reducing the shrinkage of brain cells, causing an improvement in cognitive abilities, and creating mental clarity. It can prevent or delay the early onset of dementia in old age. Deficiencies of Vitamin B12 lead to several neurological issues if it is not resolved. Vitamin B12 supplements can also be given to patients with Alzheimer's disease, but according to the dose recommended by doctors. Meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products are rich sources of Vitamin B12.3,4

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a vital nutrient for brain health. It is responsible for protecting the brain by reducing oxidative stress and protecting the neuron cells. According to the National Institute of Health, the recommended daily dose of 15 mg of Vitamin E helps to improve the health of the brain. It is also used as a treatment for dementia associated with Alzheimer’s. Blueberries and blackberries, green vegetables, nuts, and vegetable oils are some natural sources of Vitamin E.5


The deficiency of essential nutrients harms health, especially in relation to brain functioning. It affects the cognitive part of the brain and can accelerate the onset of dementia. The recommended intake of Vitamin B12 and Vitamin E can reverse dementia by protecting the brain cells, and the symptoms that appear in Alzheimer's disease are potentially improved with the restoration of nutritional deficiencies.


  1. What is dementia? | CDC [Internet]. 2019 [cited 2022 Sep 25]. Available from:
  2. What is dementia? Symptoms, types, and diagnosis [Internet]. National Institute on Aging. [cited 2022 Sep 25]. Available from:
  3. Dementia from nutritional deficiencies [Internet]. [cited 2022 Sep 25]. Available from:
  4. Alban P, DC. How vitamin B12 benefits the brain [Internet]. Be Brain Fit. [cited 2022 Sep 25]. Available from:
  5. Rosinski A. The health benefits of vitamin E [Internet]. Memory Health. [cited 2022 Sep 25]. Available from:

Fatima Zehra

M. Phil in Pharmacy, Hamdard University, Pakistan

Fatima is a Pharmacist and Freelance Medical Writer with working experience in Pharmaceutical,
Hospital and Community Sector. She is passionate to educate people about health care. She has a
great interest to communicate complex scientific information to general audience using her
experience and writing skill. presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
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