Mild Cognitive Impairment

Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI): Reclaim Brain Power with Supplements

Updated: 10/16/23

Are you feeling forgetful and losing focus more often than usual? Or maybe it takes you a few extra seconds to remember the name of an acquaintance. If so, you may be beginning to experience mild cognitive impairment (MCI). It’s a normal part of aging for most people, but that doesn’t mean it should be ignored or accepted as inevitable. Fortunately, with the right supplements – and a healthy diet and lifestyle – MCI is manageable. In this blog post we’ll look at how certain vitamins and minerals can help improve cognition while helping reduce its effects on your daily life. You’ll also learn how to identify MCI in yourself or someone close to you, find out what causes mild cognitive impairment, and learn tips for keeping your brain power up!

What Is Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)?

Mild cognitive impairment is a term used to describe a condition where cognitive functions are affected, but not to the extent that it significantly affects a person’s daily activities. While MCI is not a type of dementia, it can be a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. MCI makes it harder for people to remember things, have conversations, follow directions, and make decisions.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, MCI is a cognitive decline that is greater than normal age-related changes but not severe enough to interfere with daily life activities. This means that people with MCI can still carry out their day-to-day life activities, but they might have trouble remembering things, making decisions, and performing complex tasks.

If you are experiencing symptoms of cognitive decline, it’s important to talk to your doctor to rule out other conditions and get the necessary medical attention. Remember, prevention is always better than cure, so start making lifestyle changes today to promote brain health and reduce your risk of developing MCI. There are also cases where medication can trigger cognitive impairment if the condition is diagnosed incorrectly.

Signs of Mild Cognitive Impairment

In this article, we will discuss eight early signs of mild cognitive impairment, which can help you identify the condition early and start the necessary treatment.

Memory Loss

One of the most common early signs of mild cognitive impairment is memory loss. You might forget things that you usually wouldn’t, like appointments, conversations, or where you placed your keys. It’s important to note that this is not the same as forgetting something for a brief moment, but rather a consistent pattern of forgetfulness.

Difficulty with Problem-Solving and Attention

Mild cognitive impairment may also cause you to have difficulty with problem-solving, attention, and decision making. You may take longer to process information, have trouble focusing, and find it challenging to make reasonable decisions.

Changes in Mood and Behavior

Mild cognitive impairment can also cause significant changes in mood and behavior. You may feel more anxious, irritable, and even depressed. You could also become more impulsive, and your personality could change suddenly.

Struggling with Language

You may have trouble finding the right words or may forget words altogether, which is common for people with mild cognitive impairment. You may also experience difficulty understanding conversations or following instructions.

Losing Track of Time

People with mild cognitive impairment may also lose track of time or have trouble with dates and times. You could find yourself struggling to remember appointments or special events, or you might show up at the wrong place or time.

Difficulty with Coordination and Balance

Mild cognitive impairment can also affect your motor coordination and balance. You may have trouble with basic tasks like walking or might experience unexplained falls.

Misplacing or Losing Things

Another early sign of mild cognitive impairment is that you may misplace or lose things more frequently than before. You may forget where you placed your phone or other commonly used items.

Challenges with Spatial Awareness

Finally, mild cognitive impairment may affect your ability to understand spatial relationships. You might struggle with recognizing landmarks or have trouble navigating through familiar places.

Types of Mild Cognitive Impairment

Further, experts classify MCI into two categories: amnestic versus non-amnestic MCI and single domain versus multiple domain MCI. With this condition, symptoms are noticeable but the patient can still maintain their everyday activities.

Amnestic MCI

Amnestic MCI is the most common type of MCI and involves memory loss. People with amnestic MCI may have difficulty recalling recent events or conversations. They may also forget important information such as appointments, directions, or names of familiar people. Amnestic MCI is a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease because both affect the same areas of the brain. However, not everyone with amnestic MCI will progress to Alzheimer’s disease.

Non-Amnestic MCI

Non-amnestic MCI involves cognitive decline in areas other than memory. People with non-amnestic MCI may experience problems with language, attention, and visual-spatial skills. They may have trouble processing visual information, problem-solving, or doing complex tasks. Non-amnestic MCI is more common in people who will develop other forms of dementia, such as dementia with Lewy bodies or frontotemporal dementia.

Single Domain vs. Multiple Domain MCI

In single domain MCI, the patient only experiences impairment with memory or one other cognitive domain. If the patient has multiple domain MCI, the condition affects their memory and at least one other cognitive domains.

Is Mild Cognitive Impairment a Form of Dementia?

While MCI shares some similarities with dementia, it is not considered a form of dementia. Dementia is a more severe form of cognitive decline, which affects daily functioning and is usually accompanied by significant changes in behavior. Additionally, dementia is more likely to cause a decline in physical health, while MCI does not.

However, it is important to note that MCI is a risk factor for developing dementia. Approximately 10-15% of individuals with MCI develop dementia each year. Therefore, if you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of MCI, it is essential to speak to a healthcare professional to determine the cause and receive the necessary treatment.

Mild Cognitive Impairment Symptoms

Causes of Mild Cognitive Impairment

Currently, researchers do not completely understand what causes mild cognitive impairment. For some patients, the condition could be a pre-dementia condition, so the patient may need to take precautions. Most patients’ symptoms usually worsen over time and the condition can transition from MCI to dementia.

Medical Conditions

There are several medical conditions that can cause MCI, such as Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and vitamin B12 deficiency. Additionally, high blood pressure and diabetes are also associated with higher rates of MCI. In order to prevent these conditions from leading to MCI, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and seek medical attention when necessary.

Medication Side Effects and Other Causes

Certain medications such as sleeping pills, sedatives, and anticholinergic drugs, which block the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, can cause cognitive impairment. Moreover, other medical conditions such as thyroid problems, head injuries, and infections can also contribute to MCI.


Studies have shown that genetics play a role in the development of MCI. If you have a family member with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, you have a higher chance of developing MCI. While we cannot control our genetics, it is important to be aware of this risk factor and to take steps to prevent MCI through a healthy lifestyle.


Age is the most common risk factor for MCI. As we age, our brains change, and the connections between neurons weaken. This makes it harder for the brain to process information, and memory problems can occur. MCI affects about 10-20% of people aged 65 and older.

Cardiovascular Disease and Risk Factors

Several studies have shown that individuals with cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and diabetes are at an increased risk of developing MCI. These conditions can damage blood vessels in the brain, leading to reduced blood flow and oxygen supply, which can cause cognitive impairment. Moreover, people with a history of strokes or heart attacks are also more prone to MCI.

Depression and Mood Disorders

Mood disorders such as major depression and anxiety can also contribute to MCI, especially in older adults. Depression can lead to changes in brain structure and function, such as a reduction in the volume of the hippocampus, which can affect learning and memory. Moreover, people with depression may have difficulty concentrating and making decisions, causing mild cognitive decline.

Lifestyle Factors

Perhaps the most important factor in the prevention of MCI is lifestyle. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and quality sleep have all been shown to improve cognitive function in older adults. Additionally, social connections and intellectual stimulation, such as reading or doing crossword puzzles, can also reduce the risk of MCI.

Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) has been linked to a higher incidence of MCI, particularly if the injury occurred in early adulthood. Preventing TBI through the use of protective gear during sports and safe driving practices can help reduce the overall incidence of MCI.

Can Mild Cognitive Impairment be Reversed?

Mild Cognitive Impairment is not a guarantee that dementia is going to happen but addressing it right away can help you reduce the risk. Making lifestyle changes can generally reverse the condition and improve cognitive function. We’ve discussed the importance of exercise, mental stimulation, healthy diet, sleep, and managing chronic conditions in reversing Mild Cognitive Impairment. It’s essential to take action now and work with your healthcare provider to address MCI to maintain good cognitive health in your future.

Treatment for Mild Cognitive Impairment

Currently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any medication to treat MCI. In addition, approved drugs for Alzheimer’s symptoms have not produced results that permanently slow down MCI progression. Patients may need to undergo regular testing and evaluation—about every six months—to gauge the state of their condition and the symptoms. It is important for physicians to know whether the symptoms are improving, getting worse or staying the same. Researchers do not fully understand cognitive changes in relation to aging. They have not identified any risk factors, nor is there a specific prognosis or outcome for the condition

Living with Mild Cognitive Impairment

However, even though there is no cure there are strategies to help ease the symptoms and make the patient’s life easier. Patients suffering from this condition may be able to reduce the risk of dementia by engaging in a healthier lifestyle. Limit smoking or drinking alcohol. Consistent physical exercise can also help strengthen the heart and blood vessels, including those that replenish the brain.

Exercise Regularly

One of the most effective ways to boost your brain function is to exercise regularly. Exercise has been shown to improve cognitive performance, increase neuroplasticity, and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking or cycling, most days of the week. If you have physical limitations, explore other forms of exercise, such as water aerobics or yoga.

Eat a Healthy Diet

A healthy diet is vital for healthy brain function. Be sure to include plenty of fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins in your diet. Fish is high in nutrients that are beneficial for the brain, including Omega-3 fatty acids, which help boost memory.

Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is essential for the brain to function properly. Sleep plays a crucial role in memory consolidation – a process in which information is transferred from short-term to long-term memory. Try to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night, and aim to establish a consistent sleep routine.

Maintain Social Connections

Social isolation can have a negative impact on cognitive function. Make an effort to stay connected with friends and family members, join a club or group that interests you, or volunteer in your community. These activities can help stimulate your brain, boost your mood, and improve your overall well-being.

Practice Cognitive Stimulation

Engaging in activities that challenge your brain can help keep it healthy. Consider taking a class, learning a new language, doing crossword puzzles, or playing brain games. You can also try simple exercises, such as reading aloud, doing mental calculations, or practicing memory techniques.

Brain Training Exercises

Brain training exercises can significantly improve cognitive function, and reduce the risk of developing MCI. A study done in 2017 revealed that playing brain games for ten hours, over a period of five to eight weeks, led to significant improvements in cognitive function.

Manage Chronic Conditions

Many chronic conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, can increase the risk of cognitive decline. Work with your healthcare provider to manage any conditions you may have, and follow a healthy diet and lifestyle to reduce your risk.

Seek Professional Help

If your symptoms are interfering with your daily life, it may be time to seek professional help. Your healthcare provider can evaluate your condition and recommend treatments and therapies that may be helpful. This may include medication, cognitive behavioral therapy, or other interventions.

Mild Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer’s Disease

MCI and Alzheimer’s disease are related, and individuals with MCI are at higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease over time. Some studies suggest that individuals with MCI are five times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those without MCI. However, not all individuals with MCI go on to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Some people may remain stable or improve, while others may develop other forms of dementia or cognitive impairment.

Mild Cognitive Impairment vs Normal Aging

Normal aging is a natural process that results in the gradual loss of brain cells. As we age, our brain function slows down, and it takes longer to process information. We may also experience the occasional memory lapse, such as forgetting where we left our keys or the name of someone we just met. However, these changes are relatively mild and don’t usually interfere with our daily life.

The main difference between MCI and normal aging is the extent and frequency of memory problems. With MCI, the memory problems are more frequent, noticeable, and often interfere with daily life. For example, someone with MCI may forget how to perform a task they’ve done many times before, struggle to follow a conversation, or forget important details about their life. Someone with normal aging may forget a word here and there or take longer to process information, but these changes don’t usually interfere with their daily activities.

Supplements for Mild Cognitive Impairment

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that play a vital role in brain function and health. These fats help build cell membranes in the brain and reduce inflammation. They are abundant in fatty fish, such as salmon and sardines. However, many people don’t eat enough fish to get the recommended dose of omega-3s. That’s where supplements come in. Taking omega-3 supplements can help improve memory and cognitive function, particularly in older adults with mild cognitive impairment.


A derivative of the Voacanga Africana tree, vinpocetine is very important to cognitive health. Studies show that this supplement could help increase blood flow to the brain, which may alleviate symptoms of age-related cognitive decline. This supplement may also ease fatigue. The recommended dosage for vinpocetine powder is 10 mg one to three times a day, or as directed by a doctor.


Derived from the root of the Ashwagandha plant, this supplement is a naturally occurring anti-inflammatory that may be able to ease joint pain and promote mental health. It can help repair damage from cognitive conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, increasing focus and concentration. The recommended dose for ashwagandha extract powder is 450 mg one to three times a day or following a doctor’s instructions.


A derivative of turmeric, curcumin is a natural antioxidant that has anti-inflammatory properties that may promote mental health. Usually it grows in regions of India and Asian countries and it also belongs to the ginger root and cardamom family. The main ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which is a combination of multiple phytonutrients called curcuminoids. These are responsible for its distinct color. The recommended dosage for turmeric root extract powder is no more than 1,000 mg per day, after consulting a doctor.


Resveratrol is a chemical in berries, red grapes and plants and as a natural antioxidant, it can promote cardiovascular and cognitive health. According to studies, it may even help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. It can interfere with beta-amyloid production, which plays a role in forming plaques that cause Alzheimer’s. Its antioxidant properties may also protect the brain from damage in general. The recommended dosage for pure resveratrol is 250 mg twice a day, unless a doctor advises a different dosage.


Phosphatidylserine is a phospholipid that helps form the cell membrane. It is natural in the body but it is also present in foods. The chemical may improve focus and memory. It can also help bone matrix formation, promote cardiovascular health and may improve age-related cognitive decline. Phosphatidylserine declines with age. This is why taking supplements can help maintain healthy brain function. Studies have shown that taking phosphatidylserine supplements helps improve memory and cognitive function, especially in older adults with mild cognitive impairment. The recommended dose for phosphatidylserine powder is 100 mg one to three times daily or as directed by a doctor.

Bacopa Monnieri

Bacopa monnieri is a plant commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine. It is known for its ability to improve cognitive function, memory, and concentration. In one study, older adults who took bacopa monnieri for 12 weeks showed significant improvements in memory and attention compared to a placebo group. It is recommended to take 300 mg of bacopa monnieri per day for optimal brain health.


Classified essential amino acid, magnesium plays an essential part in neurological disorders, including migraines, chronic pain, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, stroke and epilepsy. Research states that magnesium may be a suitable tool to help treat neurological disease. The recommended dosage for magnesium citrate powder is 4,400 mg per day in liquid, after consulting a physician for approval.

Coenzyme Q10

A powerful antioxidant, coenzyme Q10 is a water-insoluble compound involved in maintaining immune health and energy production. According to research, it may also help manage neurodegenerative disorders by interfering with excessive beta-amyloid production in the body that damages the brain. The recommended dose for coenzyme Q10 powder is between 50 and 200 mg once a day, if a doctor approves the dosage.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is essential for brain health and function. It helps produce myelin, a substance that helps insulate nerve fibers and speeds up neural communication. Vitamin B12 is found in animal products like meat, fish, and dairy. However, some people may not absorb enough vitamin B12 from their diet. Taking vitamin B12 supplements can help improve memory and cognitive function, particularly in older adults with mild cognitive impairment.

Ginkgo Biloba

Extracted from the maidenhair tree, ginkgo biloba is a naturally occurring antioxidant that may promote focus, mood and general mental wellness. Ginkgo Biloba is an herb that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. Its leaves contain antioxidants that help protect the brain against oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Additionally, Ginkgo Biloba enhances blood flow to the brain, which can help improve cognitive function. Some studies have shown that taking ginkgo Biloba for six months can improve memory and cognitive function in people with mild cognitive impairment. The recommended dose for ginkgo biloba leaf extract powder is in 175 mg servings up to three times a day, or as directed by a doctor.

Bottom Line

Mild cognitive impairment is a condition that causes age-related cognitive decline. As patients age, cognitive decline is normal. Sometimes the patients do not show noticeable signs of decline and other times the patient’s loved ones may notice differences in memory and attention. MCI is in between normal aging and dementia. The symptoms are similar to dementia, but it is not the same condition. Patients often have trouble remembering tasks, names, places and conversations. They may also lose objects frequently and have difficulty with judgment. However, the patient is usually able to maintain everyday activities despite problems with memory.

Taking supplements is an excellent way to maintain good brain health and improve cognitive function, especially in older adults with mild cognitive impairment. Omega-3 fatty acids, ginkgo Biloba, vitamin B12, curcumin, and phosphatidylserine are some of the best supplements for brain health and mild cognitive impairment. Consult your healthcare provider before adding a new supplement to your routine and be sure to purchase supplements from a reputable source. Remember, supplements should not replace a healthy diet, but they can complement it.

Mild cognitive impairment can be a challenging condition to live with, but there are many things you can do to boost your brain function and alleviate symptoms. Regular exercise, maintaining social connections, practicing cognitive stimulation, managing chronic conditions, and seeking professional help are all effective strategies for treating MCI. By taking a proactive approach to your health and well-being, you can maintain your cognitive function and continue to enjoy a full and active life.

Author: BulkSupplements Staff