Nootropic Advice for 87 yr Old?

Just to give a bit of background, my dad is 87 in good health very lean, requires no medications statins etc. Has been active his whole life and has been a manual laborer since preteens.

Up until around his 80th birthday he was able to do vigorous manual labor like digging holes, breaking concrete and so on.

Past few years we’ve noticed a sudden physical decline which we attributed to just old age but the more significant concerning change has been cognitively. He doesn’t seem to engage as much as he used to socially, has been getting forgetful and we’ve noticed his ability to concentrate and comprehend complicated issues has been declining. Not drastic but noticeable to family members.

Coincidentally he had to have a CAT scan done of his head and whole body recently and the specialists claimed he had brain shrinkage (hydromas?). The Dr. explained that this is a natural part of aging and is probably the cause of his cognitive decline and nothing can really be done.

So I basically want to start him on a regimen of nootropics and cognitive enhancers. i figured I’d start him with Brain Candy and work in vinpocetine as time goes on.

Anyone have any advice or suggestions? Would Power Drive be better? What about racetams or other nootropics? Thanks

Hey man, I know where your coming from, my dad is 84 and active, but my family members want to label him as slipping, cognitive impaired, which is bullshit, as I am the one helping him out everyday and he is sharp all day, everyday, I am writing this on my phone so excuse the run on sentences…I have done a lot of research in this area and my mother has dementia, and they give her Numenda, which I don’t think is the right choice, given all the nootropics out there… Oh yeah, and fire your doctor, he works for you, and find a more forward thinking Doc that gives you hope and is up on the latest research…

  I like brain candy as a choice
   I like the racetams.....particularly aniracetam, but some people like piracetam , do some research:)
   And my favorite by far is modafinal, the best nootropic I have used , also if you can get a script for nuvigil there is a cupoun for a free first months supply, if your Doc won't prescribe it, again fire him, cause he works for you...nNuvigil is armodafinil...the isototomer of modafinil , alright if you have any questions feel free to ask,  keep your Dad engaged in activities everyday, turn off the tv and put on some music, and try some brain games online ,like luminosity and nueronation,  and remember nueroplasticity never ends, no matter how old you are, and make sure he eats the right nutrients everyday, as your brain uses 25 percent of your daily caloric intake, alright it's 5:00 am on the east coast, time to go to work, and I am my own boss, because working to fulfill other people's dreams is bullshit....alright now I am rambling on.. One other thing, I am 52 and I train my mind like I train my body, and there both rock hard and Unbreakable... I will not suffer from the indignity of cognitive or physical decline, no matter what any out of shape Doctor says.. Remember if you have a mind you are a genius and if you have a body you are an athlete..only you define yourself.. Alright,

If you have any questions just ask… Now have a great day… Your dad too… he sounds like a great man…

      I hope I helped..... Sincerely, JR

Here’s my dad from a couple of years ago ,

He is better than that now, smarter and physically better… He lives full days and fits a months worth of living well into everyday, and he is writing new songs all the time, thus extending his quality and quantity of life …
He has goals and tasks that he always completes… And I help him in the nootropics area… Spread that video if you can, I’d appreciate it, Thanks, JR

Quick disclosure, I’m a just a grad-student working towards my phd in medicinal chemistry and pharmacology (with particular interest in neuropharmacology). A good neurologist will be a far better resource than anyone on this forum, myself included.

That said, your doctor is correct in that brain shrinkage is one of the many “side effects” of aging. We loose brain cells steadily as we age and as we age the rate of decrease seems to accelerate. This shrinkage is part of why head trauma is so much more dangerous to older individuals, the brain has more room to rattle around and get hurt. That your dad is almost 90 before he finally starts to exhibit cognitive decline is actually quite exceptional!

Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of good research/evidence of compounds protecting the brain to the effects of aging. Largely because the government doesn’t consider aging a “disease” so getting funding for this research is exponentially harder than other fields.

I would personally stay away from the various phenethylamine based compounds as well as modifinil (and its derivatives), as the evidence for them is primarily for different issues and they can have significant negative impact on the heart/blood pressure (of particular concern in an older individual). Try them if he wants, just monitor things closely.

The only “stimulant” class of nootropics I would consider is nicotine. A previous lab I worked in was doing research into nicotinic receptor agonists for the treatment of age related neurodegeneration, particularly Alzheimers, but it did show some neuro-protective aspects as well. Nicotine can cause/exacerbate issues with the heart/blood pressure so it will need to be monitored. It also can increase the risk of cancer, but given he made it this far, I wouldnâ??t worry about it.

There is also caffeine, but I assume he already drinks coffee/tea like the vast majority of people.

There are a number of different OTC compounds like racetams that you could try. The scientific evidence is not particularly strong for any of them, but as long as they don’t cause negative side-effects they are worth a shot. Try to be empirical about them, adding one in a time (not mixes of lots of compounds) and watching for negative sides.

You mentioned that he isn’t on any current medications, but always be aware of possible drug-drug interactions. Many compounds can alter the metabolism of other compounds, causing toxicity that otherwise wouldn’t be an issue. Of course stay away from grapefruit while you tinker.

Somewhat related, you should check out the book â??Being Mortalâ?? by Atul Gawande. If for no other reason than it gives an excellent template for talking to your doctors and your dad about what his goals are for the future and how to best achieve them.

Best of luck!

Awesome to hear your dad is doing so well at 87!

Disclaimer: I have absolutely no qualifications or expertise in this area. I am just a civilian interested in aging well.

That being said, there are a few avenues to investigate to improve your dad’s cognitive health.

  1. Diet. Specifically, is he getting a good amount of good fats and micronutrients. If not, adding fresh vegetables and fruit and a variety of fat sources may be helpful. Coconut oil and MCT oil look promising in this regard, but the science is far from settled.

  2. Basic supplements. A good multi, fish oil and possibly creatine would be great places to start. Creatine may improve cognitive function and has been tested with Alzheimer’s patients.

  3. The fancy stuff. Others have suggested specific compounds. My only suggestion here would be to try milder nootropics, such as Tyrosine, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Carnitine and CoQ10 before jumping into the racetams. has some good articles on Cognitive Enhancement stacks.

I hope some of this was helpful. If you get a chance, please update us on what your dad tries and his results.

Ok thanks so much for the advice guys, a lot of good info. I will start off with Brain Candy and see how it goes from there. Btw johnjack your dad is amazing at his age. I’m also around your age (hitting 54 this summer) and been trying to fight the aging process forever lol

You look like your doing a great Job with the anti aging man.

Thanks for the compliment on my Dad, he will be 84 on April 27th and he wrote new songs that he is going to sing at the same place on his birthday, he took my sons poems(his grandson) and put music to son is a multiple scholastic gold key award winner and is a poet laureate speaker on Long Island.. 

Ok more info I like from the above posts, I like fish oil, I take and recommend krill oil, I love healthy fats, particularly coconut oil… I recommend coffee (I have butter coffee without shilling for it, I won’t mention it’s name… also in my coffee I put coconut oil…OK it’s initials are BP coffee…lol) I AM NOT A DOCTOR… but I am a intelligent human being who knows that doctors are not always right… labeling your Dad as having a shrinking brain is BS , and congratulating him on doing well now that he’s been diagnosed

With age related cognitive decline is, in my opinion giving him the wrong impression, yes he’s doing great, and he should look forward to today, tomorrow and and the years to come, my father still works here on Long Island and also plays ping pong and lifts weights, he is lean and strong and funny and a great great grandfather more than 20 times over, and I never treat him like a frail old person, I speak to him as a contemporary, a friend and a man who looks forward to life… not backwards, he does not rest on his laurels… they are to numerous to mention(honor guard at JFK funeral, worked in pentagon,Korean war vet, Olympic runner, great hoops player-can still hit 100 free throws in a row…college record holder in 3 mile run and American champ cross country…

Of course this was in the 50’s --60’s, he also built planes for Grumman…) you get my point…Only you can define yourself… We talk about today and the future, investments and sports, tasks and goals and what’s to come… I think you get the picture…

  OK ONCE AGAIN I AM NOT A DOCTOR so the following info is based on my personal experience..
  Six months ago I suffered a terrible concussion- brain injury, woke up with blurred vision and severe memory loss, blood behind my eyes, headaches..I also suffered a broken back and whiplash and fractured vertebrae in my neck..

Doctors gave me two options, medication or surgery, these were the best Doctors who referred me to specialists and on and on, labeling me as cognitivley impaired,  said I had spinal stenosis and  degenerative disk disease, could never lift anything heavy and I had to give up weight training....Well, here's what I did, I scoured literally thousands of research papers and decide to work on healing my brain first.... anti inflammatory fats, nootropics and yes , modafinal, prescribed by a Doctor who could not refute all the research I presented him with...

The nueroprotective benefits of my nootropic stack and long story short… Went back to a neurologist who gave me a post concussion memory test… He said don’t be surprised by a cognitive age of 70+ years on this test because the severity of my concussion, well I scored indicated that my brain was operating on a level that ranged in the 27 and under category of healthy males, to say they were taken aback would be an understatement, Ok I healed and improved my brain(and my IQ) …

On to my body… Surgery or pain mess… One leads to addiction and death and the other leads to long rehabs and cutting me open to put in, ahem, their words “spinal cement” So I researched and talked to more progressive Doctors on the West coast(skyped) and came up with a plan to heal myself through weight training and diet, although my Doctor had labeled me with a broken back…

I can move and walk and if I feel pain it just means I am alive and still breathing, I wasn’t stupid about this I did not go heavy or huge in the gym, the WO and supplement plan were specifically tailored to give me a chance to heal, increase the synovial fluid in my spine, in between my vertebrae, as opposed to using spinal cement(what a term) again long story short…

On my subsequent X-rays, cat scans, and MRI’s I not only healed my back on my own using weights(OMG) but I had no loss of height as the Dr.s promised I would and, to their amazement, I reversed my degenerative disc disease…To say that they were baffled would be an understatement… and they gave me a complete physical and said that I had a biological age of 35, that includes cholesterol, blood pressure and bone density tests…

If I have a sore throat I go to the Docs and get some penicillin, I am not an idiot, but, between big pharma and Dr.s whose business depends on surgery or pain management, your a customer…and they must sell their products… Remember Doctors work for you, your paying them, so control the situations and and conversations…

Alright, I must comment on Modafinil/Provigil raising your blood pressure,it does not… Other stimulants do such as Ritalin or adderall, which they give out like candy, and they are both addictive, I am not shilling for Modafinil, why would I, I have nothing to gain, I have not only saved my own life but improved it 100 fold… even when I was told that I was technically disabled…lol… Yesterday I did deadlifts with 395lbs and made well over $7000 for the week working from my home, I am not bragging, I am just saying, don’t let anyone label you or your Dad or your kids… if I would have listened to the experts in NY I would still be recovering from surgery, limited to walking as a physical activity and of course, rest, meds, and fatter…
Now I am at 14-16 percent body fat and don’ start my cut until April or May… I also rode my bike for 50 miles…Enough for now
I Define who I am and will live fully with my decisions… Yours in MIND, BODY and SPIRIT,
Sincerely, John R.

Wow that was a very powerful and impressive post. I’m glad you posted it because one thing I left out in my original post was the reason he had the head and body CAT scans was due to a pretty bad car wreck he was in recently in which coincidentally just like you he suffered a concussion, amongst a broken nose and some other minor bumps and bruises.

I didn’t mention it because we observed the slight cognitive decline prior to the accident and thats what I was concerned with. His cognitive abilities are worse now but thats due to the concussion and we’re assuming or hoping it will pass when he recovers. Not that we’re not concerned about the concussion either. Since the concussion he tires easily and gets headaches with physical exertion and/or trying to use his brain too much if that makes sense. i figured this new supplement regimen would also help him with the effects of the concussion.

Dr says only time can make things pass or heal. Anyway thanks for the advice and suggestions. i guess I’ll test and introduce different nutrients and nootropics slowly one at time to see how each affects him. Thanks for your help.

Thanks man, I’m glad you shared that with me… one of my favorite Brain Doctors/ researchers is Dr. Daniel Amen… I’ ll put the link up for a video conference. it’s on a different website so if it doesn’t run just look him up on YouTube

  The video is running for free on this website, but, so don' t pay for anything, dr. Amens presentation is filled with fantastic info on brain healing... Watch the whole thing.. I think it will be worth your time:) JR.

Thanks for the compliment on the above post… I’m glad to help, if I can help you help your dad and it enriches his days, I believe it comes back to me, it also enriches my life, and in turn, indirectly, my fathers and my sons… So helping you helps me:) Thank you for that… John

At this age you certainly would do well to consider optimising your mitochondria, and see if the most popular cognitive decline agents such as ALCAR bring a degree of relief. I am personally partial to tyrosine and or alcar plus high dose coq10 and ALA/indigo.

Yes I considered mitochondria stuff too thanks. Already added ubiquinol. Brain Candy working well so far.

I have had good luck with Phosphatidylserine, Vinpocetine, and Bacopa.

[quote]duke6j wrote:
I have had good luck with Phosphatidylserine, Vinpocetine, and Bacopa.[/quote]

Yep, PS is great but expensive and goes well with Bacopa (personally way too sedating for me). IMHO these two plus mitochondria support, neurotransmitter support (brain candy) is about as good as it is going to get with OTC nootropics.

That on top of the basics mentioned by lifting strumphet.

The next step would be modafinil but I doubt it is necessary or even advisable in this particular situation.