Mild cognitive impairment is likely to affect nearly 20% of people over 60’s.

Older lady with cognitive decline

It is a decline in mental function that can affect a person’s thinking and also their behaviour. Dementia is where cognitive decline starts to affect daily life and can develop into Alzheimer’s disease in some people.

Symptoms of cognitive decline

  • Memory loss – forgetting names, events, or important dates.
  • Language and speech can change , affecting someone’s train of thought or repeating events.
  • Changes in mood, possibly more irritable, perhaps becoming depressed or anxious.
  • Changes in thinking and judgement.

Risk factors for cognitive decline;

  • Family history of cognitive decline. This often is linked to the APOE-4 gene which increases the risk for cognitive decline (but this is not a guarantee for developing it). Beta-amyloid plaques can build up in the brain preventing the cells from communicating to each other.
  • Older age
  • Smoking 
  • Medical Issues – including cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, and high cholesterol. These diseases can interfere with blood flow to the brain.
  • Lack of exercise
  • Lack of sleep
  • Lack of social contact
  • Mental health issues
  • Toxins – these can cross the blood brain barrier and cause cognitive issues.
  • Gut health – bacteria can increase inflammation systemically, especially in the brain and cause damage to brain cells.

Conventional approach

There is no standard treatment plan for people with cognitive decline, it really is about managing symptoms. There are drugs that are used with Alzheimer’s but there is no cure and there can be side effects. Functional medicine can however make a real difference.

Things you can do:

  1. Anti-inflammatory diet – wholefoods including 8 portions of vegetables and 2 fruits with healthy fats and lean protein.
  2. Exercise – helps with blood circulation to the brain taking nutrients and oxygen to help protect against memory loss and cognitive decline.
  3. Social Contact and support – finding a purpose, having strong social networks have been shown to be neuro protective.
  4. Reduce toxin exposure – give up smoking, if you smoke. Speak to your GP about a medication review as some medications may be linked to dementia. Switch to filtered water and environmentally friendly cleaning products and personal products

What can Functional Medicine do to support?

  • Use functional testing to find out your root cause – looking at gut health, toxin load, metal toxicity, genetics, nutrient status and addressing the findings for you as an individual.
  • Provide an anti-inflammatory diet with high levels of antioxidants to support brain health.
  • Using foods and herbs to support detoxification pathways.
  • Supporting lifestyle changes– to support better sleep, reducing stress and exercise to improve cognition.
  • Using supplements that can protect the brain, reduce inflammation, and improve antioxidant status.

5 Pillars of Functional Medicine

Managing Stress

Cognitive decline and Functional Medicine

Do you suffer from cognitive decline and have tried all the usual approaches?

Functional Medicine can help you, simply book an online consultation or arrange a free 15 minute discovery call and find out how we can help.