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Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI): 5 Natural Treatments

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a decline in mental function that most often affects older adults. Mild cognitive impairment symptoms are not as severe as other cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer's disease or dementia. Old age, family history and an unhealthy lifestyle are all mild impairment causes. (1) Mild cognitive impairment treatment and prevention methods include a healthy lifestyle, helpful supplements and an anti-inflammatory diet.

Mild Cognitive Impairment Causes

  • Decreased blood flow to the brain
  • Decreased use of energy by brain cells
  • Shrinkage in the hippocampus
  • Enlargement of ventricles or fluid-filled sacs in the brain
  • Neuronal injury
  • Decreased cerebrospinal fluid
  • Increased plaque or clumps of beta-amyloid proteins
  • Small strokes or reduced blood flow through brain blood vessels

Mild Cognitive Impairment Risk Factors

  • Old age
  • Family history of conditions such as Alzheimer's or dementia
  • A history of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke or metabolic syndrome
  • Smoking, using drugs or abusing alcohol
  • Suffering from mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and isolation
  • A sedentary lifestyle
  • Lack of sleep and sleep-related problems like sleep apnea
Mild cognitive impairment grandma

Mild Cognitive Impairment Symptoms

  • Frequent and consistent memory loss
  • Changes in speech or language
  • Changes in thinking and judgement
  • Increasing worry about one's mental performance
  • Becoming more impulsive, impatient and irritable
  • Mood changes, including increased symptoms of depression, anxiety and apathy

Mild Cognitive Impairment Treatment

1. Eat an Anti-inflammatory Diet

A diet high in antioxidants and healthy fats can help combat mild cognitive impairment causes. Studies have shown that a diet consisting of nutrient-dense foods, fiber and antioxidants can help slow cognitive decline. (2) Foods that help protect the brain from inflammation include:
  • High-antioxidant foods such as leafy green vegetables, orange and yellow vegetables and berries
  • Healthy fats including olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds
  • Lean proteins including eggs, legumes and beans
  • Wine and coffee in moderation
Mild cognitive impairment food

2. Exercise

Exercise boosts circulation and protects the brain against memory loss and other mild cognitive impairment symptoms. Studies suggest that walking outside may be one of the best types of exercise for mental health. (3) Other beneficial exercises include swimming, cycling, yoga or using an elliptical. Aim for 30-60 minutes a day at least four times per week.

3. Use Helpful Supplements

Several supplements can be used for mild cognitive impairment treatment and prevention. Helpful supplements include:
  • Vitamin D: 5,000 IU each day can help prevent a nutrient deficiency and reduce your risk of dementia.
  • CoQ10: CoQ10 levels decline with age. Taking around 200 milligrams each day can help slow down the progress of cognitive impairment. (4)
  • Ginkgo Biloba and Ginseng: These herbs can help improve circulation, enhance energy and promote memory retention. Take 120 milligrams per day.
  • Phosphatidylserine: This supplement plays a key role in the maintenance of cellular function in the brain. Take 300 milligrams each day. (5)
Mild cognitive impairment ginkgo

4. Find Social Support

Research has shown that people with strong social networks and close relationships have better protection against cognitive impairment and a better quality of life. To help stay connected with friends, family members and the community:
  • Spend more time with family members
  • Join a support group to deal with stress
  • Stay active by walking or exercising with friends
  • Play an instrument
  • Spend time reading and writing
  • Volunteer with a group in need
  • Join a religious organization
  • Engage in fun, social hobbies
  • Practice memory training activities to offer mental stimulation

5. Reduce Toxin Exposure

Exposure to toxins can increase the risk of memory loss and dementia. This includes certain medications. (6) If you're taking medications that are linked to dementia, such as antidepressants, antispasmodic, sleep medications or antispasmodics, talk to your doctor. Smoking cigarettes and using other tobacco products have also been shown to increase cognitive problems.