Connection Between Alzheimer’s Disease and Veganism

Veganism is a lifestyle in which people use zero animal products. While those who practice strict veganism don’t even use products like leather or anything tested on animals, people who follow a vegan diet simply do not consume any foods that derive from animal sources. According to two major longitudinal studies on aging, consuming saturated fatty acids, mainly derived from meat and dairy products, increases the risk of neurodegeneration later in life. 

Learn more about the research on vegainsm and Alzheimer’s below… 

TOP Memory Care Community in San Diego, CA 

Welcome to this blog series on diets that may have an impact on Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and neurodegeneration. We all know that health is extremely complicated and multi-faceted. Everything from genetics, stress levels, sleep, diet, exercise, and trauma can have an affect on our overall health and well-being. While there are many aspects of health we can’t control, taking steps towards improving what we eat will undoubtedly be positive for our health. 

At MesaView Senior Assisted Living in La Mesa, San Diego, CA, we pride ourselves on preparing meals that are good for our residents’ bodies and minds. We frequently update our meal plans and can accommodate specific diet needs and preferences. 

Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and Cholesterol

A significant body of research suggests that a healthy diet, physical activity, and social engagement have a significant role in reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s. An interesting link has been discovered between people who have high blood lipid levels in mid-life and those who develop Alzheimer’s disease later in life. One study followed participants for 20-30 years and discovered that those with high cholesterol levels in mid-life had a 50% higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. 

Vascular and Metabolic Disorders Also Linked to Alzheimer’s 

Even accounting for age-related and genetic factors, individuals with high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol (as well as high levels of other fats in the blood) have an increased risk of Alzheimers. Other vascular disorders such as heart disease and stroke as well as metabolic abnormalities like obesity, are also connected to the pathophysiology of Alzheimer’s. 

What Does this Have to Do With a Vegan Diet?!

One study looking at the connection between cognitive health and diet discovered that people whose diets were characterized by a high amount of plant-based foods and low in saturated fats had a decreased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s later in life compared with individuals whose diets were high in meat and dairy products. The difference in Alzheimer’s levels between the primarily plant-based group and the animal products group was very significant – between and 86-92% reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia.

While it’s clear that eating a primarily plant-based diet is beneficial for overall health as well as for cognitive health, some research has raised concerns about a strict vegan diet for brain health. Diets low in Omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin B-12 have shown to cause an increased risk of Alzheimer’s. Some researchers suggest that a plant-based diet with the addition of fish and some seafood might be one of the best diets for Alzheimer’s prevention. 

Best Senior Assisted Living Community in San Diego 

We are committed to evidence-based care at MesaView Senior Assisted Living (as well as at our sister sites, HarborView Senior Assisted Living in San Diego and Bay View Assisted Living in Point Loma) and being familiar with relevant research is an important part of the care we provide. To find out what sets us apart, give us a call and schedule a COVID safe tour of our one-of-a-kind assisted living home in San Diego!