We examine the truth behind the sale of supplements, vitamins, products and therapies that claim to prevent or treat dementia, or boost memory.
It is common to see advertisements online claiming to be a ‘miracle cure’ for dementia.
Sometimes it can be difficult to know whether to trust these claims.
Unfortunately, any supplement or treatment available to purchase that claims to prevent, slow down or reverse dementia is extremely likely to be bogus.
I have dementia - what does this mean for me?
The good news is there is support out there.
Alzheimer's Society is here for everyone affected by dementia. We provide accurate, evidence-based advice and information.
While there is currently no cure, there are drugs and non-drug treatments that can lessen a person’s symptoms of dementia.
Beware of false claims about 'treatments'
Receiving a diagnosis of dementia can be a difficult time for the individual and their families.
Dementia can make individuals more susceptible to aggressive marketing messages.
It’s unacceptable for companies to exploit people who are in this vulnerable position, valuing profits over well-being.
We are concerned that people looking for information are not receiving the support or treatments they need following a diagnosis. Unsurprisingly, this leads to people looking online for alternatives.
I’m worried about developing dementia – what can I do?
The causes of dementia are complex. There are some factors we can’t change, such as our genes. There are some things we can do to reduce the chances of developing the condition.
In general, what is good for the heart is good for the brain.
It’s important to make sure that any long-term health problems are managed as well as possible. These could include diabetes, high blood pressure, or mental health problems, such as depression or anxiety.
If you have any of these or think you may be at risk of developing them, it’s really important to check in with your GP and take any medications they prescribe.
You can also try to make your brain healthier through positive lifestyle changes.
I'm considering taking a dementia supplement
If you are considering purchasing and taking a supplement that claims to prevent or treat dementia or memory issues, ensure you discuss this with your doctor before doing so.
Dr Fiona Carragher, Chief Policy and Research Officer at Alzheimer's Society, explains the importance of trusted sources.
'We are aware of companies marketing supplements online with misleading evidence that they can prevent or even treat dementia.
'The "evidence" is often anecdotal and, in the majority of cases, there is little or no data to back up the claims.'
'We know there is a lot of fear and uncertainty surrounding dementia, and anyone looking to reduce their risk deserves to receive accurate information.
'Research, including our own, has revealed a number of lifestyle changes that can help prevent dementia.
'It’s frustrating that people are being taken away from our evidence-based robust advice and guidance and being pointed instead to misleading claims for financial gain.'
Alternative therapies for dementia
There is so much information available online about alternative therapies for dementia. Some of it is true, but some stretch the truth.
Alzheimer's Society ensures all the information we provide is always backed up by evidence and will ensure you have all the facts to make an informed decision.
This article was first published on 22 March 2019, and most recently updated on 11 August 2021.