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Solutions: Protect Against Age-Related Memory Loss

In human studies, two compounds stabilized or even reversed signs of cognitive dysfunction in people with early cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s.

Scientifically reviewed by Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, in June 2023. Written by: Laurie Mathena.

There is increasing awareness that age-associated memory loss and early-stage dementia are reversible conditions.1-3

Two compounds have been shown in clinical studies to help:4-10

  • Protect cognitive function,
  • Stop memory loss, and
  • Potentially reverse early symptoms of cognitive decline.

Daily intake of the mineral lithium has been found to decrease the rate of cognitive decline in people with Alzheimer’s disease.4

And a milk-derived compound called proline-rich polypeptide complex has been shown to improve cognitive scores in Alzheimer’s patients.5

Both nutrients work by targeting harmful changes that occur in the brain with age.

Brain Changes and Dementia

The brain undergoes structural changes as we age.

Among the most damaging are the buildup of amyloid protein clumps, the dysfunction of tau proteins, and chronic inflammation.11

Over time, these changes lead to the death and dysfunction of brain cells, which cause the brain to shrink.

This damage is associated with memory deficits seen with mild cognitive impairment and dementia.11

The compounds lithium and proline-rich polypeptide complex help mitigate the progression of structural damage caused by amyloid and tau that occurs in aging brains.

Lithium Preserves Mental Function

Animal and human studies have shown that low-dose lithium works in key ways to guard against harmful changes in the brain by:

  • Improving the brain’s ability to clear toxic amyloid protein clumps,12
  • Reducing amyloid plaque and abnormal tau protein in the brain (longer term intake),13
  • Improving cellular housekeeping (autophagy), mitochondrial function, and the production of brain growth factors, and14
  • Potentially preserving brain volume in multiple regions, including the hippocampus, which is critical for the formation of new memories.15

In a clinical study, a daily 300 mcg micro-dose of lithium for 15 months significantly decreased the progression of cognitive decline in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.7

In a randomized clinical trial of older adults with mild cognitive impairment, participants received either lithium or a placebo for two years. This group was followed for an additional two years.

Researchers found that after two years, cognitive function remained stable in those taking low-dose lithium, with better performance on memory and attention tasks. The placebo group showed a significant functional and cognitive decline.

Another study showed that long-term, low-dose lithium attenuates cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease.4 After four years, the progression of mild cognitive impairment to dementia was lower in those taking low-dose lithium compared to a placebo.4

Proline-Rich Polypeptides Fight Brain Aging

Another nutrient that can help aging brains resist damaging structural changes is the proline-rich polypeptide complex. This is a compound isolated from protein fragments found in colostrum (the early milk that mothers produce after a baby is born).

Proline-rich polypeptide complex has been shown to:

  • Provide neuroprotective effects in vitro,16
  • Increase the growth of nerve fibers and support connectivity in the brain,17,18
  • Stabilize cognitive function in a clinical trial of patients with mild and moderate Alzheimer’s disease,
  • Enhance the production of enzymes that break down and eliminate amyloid beta protein, and
  • Alter the expression of genes associated with inflammation, the production of amyloid, and the abnormal modification of tau proteins.10

In a human trial, subjects with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease received either a proline-rich polypeptide complex or a placebo.6

After one year, those in the placebo group had a significant reduction in scores on a test of cognitive function, indicating worsening impairment.

Patients with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis typically deteriorate over any period of observation. To see an improvement in cognitive function is exceptional.

A remarkable 54% of these early-stage Alzheimer’s patients taking the polypeptide complex had improvements in their cognitive scores. The remainder were stable, without any worsening of cognitive function.

Those who had milder symptoms at the start of the study showed the greatest improvement on average. This suggests that taking the complex early in the course of the disease is most beneficial.


Low doses of the trace mineral lithium and a proline-rich polypeptide complex can prevent or delay the structural damage that occurs in aging brains.

Human studies demonstrate the ability of these nutrients to stabilize or even reverse signs of cognitive dysfunction in people with early cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease. •

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension Wellness Specialist at 1-866-864-3027.


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