Evidence-Based Strategies for Lifelong Cognitive Health

A Roadmap to Cognitive Wellness 

Cognitive impairment is one of the most widespread health problems of the 21st century. Recent statistics indicate that cognitive decline and dementia are pressing global health issues. According to the National Institute on Aging, Alzheimer's is currently ranked as the seventh leading cause of death in the United States and is the number one cause of dementia among older adults. 1

As of 2023, approximately 6.25 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease. As the U.S. population aged 65 and older continues to grow, the number and proportion of Americans living with cognitive decline and dementia will also increase. It’s projected to more than double, rising to nearly 14 million by 2060.  

Degenerative cognitive impairment can begin 20 years or more before memory loss and other symptoms develop. 2 To reduce risk, detect problems early, and improve safety and quality of care, it is crucial to take action now to protect cognitive health.

A Roadmap to Cognitive Wellness

The Healthy Brain Initiative, a research collaboration between the Healthy Aging Research Network and the CDC, improves the understanding of cognitive health as a central part of public health practice and practitioner-patient education.

This initiative aims to create and support partnerships, collect and report data, increase awareness of cognitive health, support populations with a high burden of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, and promote the use of its Road Map. 3 The Road Map series provides actionable steps to promote brain health, address cognitive impairment, and address the needs of caregivers. 

In most cases, Alzheimer's does not have a single genetic cause. Instead, Alzheimer's inherent cognitive decline is influenced by multiple genes in combination with lifestyle and environmental factors. Genetic variations may increase or decrease a person's risk of developing the disease. Older adults believe that physical activity can protect cognitive health but often need clarification on the role nutrition can play. 4

Environmental factors like air pollution and exposure to heavy metals 5, pesticides 6, and microplastics are associated with cognitive impairment and are known to disrupt the Gut-Brain Axis.7 These factors can influence the risk, onset, and progression of neurodegenerative conditions and cognitive impairment through various mechanisms such as oxidative stress, inflammation, and disruption of neural function.

The missing piece to this equation is you and other like-minded practitioners dedicated to integrative, neuroprotective strategies that build upon bioavailable, premier-quality, food-based supplements and effective supplementation protocols.

Additionally, integrative practitioners can offer support by guiding patients on the most appropriate diet and lifestyle modifications to defend the central nervous system against neuronal injury due to acute and chronic neurodegenerative disorders. 8 

Let's dig into some key aspects to help educate patients on integrative strategies for supporting cognitive health.

Evidence-Based Strategies for Lifelong Cognitive Health

Dietary Interventions for Cognitive Wellness:

A clean and balanced diet is the cornerstone of health and naturally delivers an array of inflammation-modulating antioxidant compounds to support cognitive health. 

  • Mediterranean Diet: A Mediterranean diet is commonly recommended to prevent or delay cognitive disorders and improve cognitive function. Numerous RCTs researching Mediterranean diets have demonstrated a positive association with global cognition, working memory, and episodic memory. 9  Diets rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats are associated with a lower risk of neuronal dysfunction and cognitive decline.
  • Polyphenol-Rich Foods: Extensive research supports that the bioactive compounds present in fruits and vegetables can neutralize free radicals, slow down aging processes, and protect the body against degenerative diseases. ,

    Polyphenols are widespread in foods and medicinal plants and have demonstrated their consistent ability to reduce oxidative stress and cell damage, reduce inflammatory cascades, and thereby exert neuroprotective effects. 10 Regularly consuming foods high in polyphenols, such as berries, green tea, and dark chocolate, can support brain health. Nourishing the body will provide the necessary energy to find ways to live life to the fullest.

Lifestyle Modification Strategies:

Not only do we need to move the body to maintain the mind, but we also need meaningful connections as well as quiet reflection and self-regulation to optimize mental health and emotional well-being.  

Physical Exercise: Regular physical exercise and activity play a crucial neuroprotective role by enhancing brain plasticity and improving cognitive function and overall well-being. Experimental and clinical studies have demonstrated that physical activity induces structural and functional changes in the brain, leading to significant biological and psychological benefits. 11

Cognitive Training: Cognitive training involves structured activities designed to challenge the brain and enhance memory, reasoning, speed of processing, executive functioning, everyday functioning, and general knowledge. 12 Activities such as puzzles, reading, and learning new skills help maintain cognitive function.

Social Connections: Social connections are another vital part of supporting cognitive health. Connecting with friends and family can enhance mental well-being and promote healthy aging. 13

Mindfulness Meditation: Emerging evidence suggests that mindfulness meditation might cause neuroplastic changes in grey matter density in brain regions associated with learning, memory, emotional regulation, and self-awareness. 14 Regular meditation is consistent with reducing stress and improving cognitive function by promoting brain plasticity.

Innovative Nutrients for Cognitive Support 

If you're looking for a natural way to support your patient's cognitive health, consider exploring products containing Neumentix™, NeuroFactor™, and choline.

  • Neumentix™: produced by Kemin Health, this proprietary extract from a carefully selected strain of spearmint (Mentha spicata) containing a minimum of 14.5% rosmarinic acid and 24% total phenolic content has been effectively used in clinical trials to support working memory, reactive agility, and cognitive function by promoting neurogenesis, the process by which brain cells differentiate and proliferate into new neurons. 10,15 Neurogenesis is a crucial factor in preserving mental function and repairing damaged brain cells. 10 
  • NeuroFactor™: Derived from coffee fruit, research indicates this proprietary extract significantly increases levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a major neurotrophic factor that serves several critical regulatory roles in the nervous system including neuroplasticity, GABA/glutamate balance, and overall brain health. 16
  • Choline: Present in eggs and meat, choline offers numerous cognitive benefits. Not only is choline essential for producing acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter crucial for memory and learning, but this vital nutrient is also the precursor to sphingomyelin and phosphatidylcholine; structural components of cell membranes. When oxidized, choline forms the methyl donor, betaine to convert homocysteine to methionine. 17

For those seeking comprehensive cognitive support, consider exploring products incorporating these powerful ingredients to help maintain and enhance brain health throughout your lifespan. Clinical trials have shown these innovative nutrients to promote working memory, cognitive function, and overall brain health by supporting neurogenesis, increasing BDNF levels, and providing essential components for neurotransmitter production and cell membrane structure.

Check out our product offerings at www.prlabs.com, select the Focus category, and create a roadmap for expanding cognitive health strategies. Your patients will never forget you for doing so!


‡ The products and claims made about specific products on or through this Site have not been evaluated by the United States Food and Drug Administration and are not approved to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.

‡ This Site is not intended to provide diagnosis, treatment, or medical advice. Products, services, information, and other content provided on this Site, including information that may be provided directly or by linking to third-party websites are provided for informational purposes only. Please consult accredited healthcare professional organizations, evidence-based herbal monographs, and published clinical research regarding any medical or health-related diagnosis or treatment options.



  1. National Institute on Aging. Alzheimer’s Disease Fact Sheet. National Institute on Aging website. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/alzheimers-and-dementia/alzheimers-disease-fact-sheet . Accessed June 24, 2024.
  2. Alzheimer's Association. 2024 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures. Alzheimer’s Association website. https://www.alz.org/media/Documents/alzheimers-facts-and-figures.pdf.  Accessed June 24, 2024.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Healthy Brain Initiative (NHBI). CDC website. https://www.cdc.gov/aging/healthybrain/index.htm. Accessed June 24, 2024.
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Perceptions of Cognitive Health and Dementia Risk Reduction: A Public Health Road Map. CDC website. https://www.cdc.gov/aging/pdf/perceptions_of_cog_hlth_factsheet.pdf. Accessed June 24, 2024.
  5. Bakulski KM, Seo YA, Hickman RC, et al. Heavy Metals Exposure and Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias. J Alzheimers Dis. 2020;76(4):1215-1242. doi:10.3233/JAD-200282. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7454042/  
  6. Wen L, Miao X, Ding J, et al. Pesticides as a risk factor for cognitive impairment: Natural substances are expected to become alternative measures to prevent and improve cognitive impairment. Front Nutr. 2023 Feb 24;10:1113099. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2023.1113099. PMID: 36937345; PMCID: PMC10016095. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36937345/
  7. Sofield CE, Anderton RS, Gorecki AM. Mind over Microplastics: Exploring Microplastic-Induced Gut Disruption and Gut-Brain-Axis Consequences. Curr Issues Mol Biol. 2024;46(5):4186-4202. Published 2024 Apr 30. doi:10.3390/cimb46050256. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38785524/
  8. Kumar GP, Khanum F. Neuroprotective potential of phytochemicals. Phcog Rev 2012;6:81-90. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3459459/
  9. Fu J, Tan LJ, Lee JE, et al. Association between the Mediterranean diet and cognitive health among healthy adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Front Nutr. 2022;9:946361. Published 2022 Jul 28. doi:10.3389/fnut.2022.946361. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9372716/   
  10. Carrillo JÁ, Zafrilla MP, Marhuenda J. Cognitive Function and Consumption of Fruit and Vegetable Polyphenols in a Young Population: Is There a Relationship? Foods. 2019;8(10):507. Published 2019 Oct 17. doi:10.3390/foods8100507. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6836211/
  11. Mandolesi L, Polverino A, Montuori S, et al. Effects of Physical Exercise on Cognitive Functioning and Wellbeing: Biological and Psychological Benefits. Front Psychol. 2018;9:509. Published 2018 Apr 27. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00509. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5934999/
  12. Kelly ME, Loughrey D, Lawlor BA, et al. The impact of cognitive training and mental stimulation on cognitive and everyday functioning of healthy older adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Ageing Res Rev. 2014;15:28-43. doi:10.1016/j.arr.2014.02.004. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24607830/
  13. National Institute on Aging. Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease: What Do We Know? National Institute on Aging website. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/alzheimers-and-dementia/preventing-alzheimers-disease-what-do-we-know#training.  Accessed June 25, 2024.
  14. Tang YY, Hölzel BK, Posner MI. The neuroscience of mindfulness meditation. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2015;16(4):213-225. doi:10.1038/nrn3916. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25783612/
  15. Falcone PH, Tribby AC, Vogel RM, et al. Efficacy of a nootropic spearmint extract on reactive agility: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel trial. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2018;15(1):58. Published 2018 Dec 12. doi:10.1186/s12970-018-0264-5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30541572/
  16. Robinson JL, Yanes JA, Reid MA, et al. Neurophysiological Effects of Whole Coffee Cherry Extract in Older Adults with Subjective Cognitive Impairment: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Cross-Over Pilot Study. Antioxidants (Basel). 2021;10(2):144. Published 2021 Jan 20. doi:10.3390/antiox10020144. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7909261/
  17. Poly C, Massaro JM, Seshadri S, et al. The relation of dietary choline to cognitive performance and white-matter hyperintensity in the Framingham Offspring Cohort. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011;94(6):1584-1591. doi:10.3945/ajcn.110.008938. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3252552/

Jenny Perez is an herbal educator, researcher, and writer who has been immersed in nutrition and botanical medicine for more than twenty years. She has created curriculum, content, and educational materials for Quantum Nutrition Labs, Premier Research Labs, the American Botanical Council, and Bastyr University’s Botanical Medicine Department, where she was Adjunct Faculty, Herb Garden Manager, and Director of the Holistic Landscape Design certificate program.