Melatonin & Vascular Dementia: Remedies & Supplements to Help - Peregrine

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May 19, 2023  -  Memory Care

Melatonin & Vascular Dementia: Remedies & Supplements to Help

Melatonin & Vascular Dementia: Remedies & Supplements to Help

If you’ve ever had trouble falling asleep at night, there’s a good chance someone has suggested you try melatonin supplements. Melatonin is a hormone that our bodies naturally produce and is best known for its role in regulating sleep patterns. However, melatonin may also have some benefits for brain cognition and even play a role in preventing or delaying the progression of memory conditions such as vascular dementia. 

While more research is still needed, melatonin may play a role in reducing the symptoms of memory loss caused by vascular dementia and could also help to explain the complicated link between sleep and an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s. 

Supplements, including melatonin, can help seniors live healthier lives, especially when used in conjunction with a healthy diet, regular exercise, and an abundant social life.

What Is Vascular Dementia? 

As we age, our risk of developing memory conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s increases. Vascular dementia is a common type of dementia and is caused by a reduction of blood flow to the brain, which can prevent the brain tissue from getting essential nutrients and oxygen. The affected brain cells die, which leads to dementia.


Having a loved one develop vascular dementia can be a hard thing to experience. However, recognizing the signs and symptoms of dementia early on can help ensure that your loved one gets the help that they need for the best possible outcome. 

Common signs of dementia include:

  • Cognitive decline that goes beyond what is typical
  • Declining motor functions
  • Disorientation and confusion
  • Personality changes, especially anxiety, depression, or anger
  • Disorganization
  • Frustration or aggression
  • Withdrawal or apathy
  • Difficulty concentrating or completing tasks
  • Poor judgment
  • Loss of sleep 

Risk Factors

Vascular dementia can be caused by a number of conditions that interrupt the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. 

Factors that put you at a higher risk of developing vascular dementia include:

  • History of stroke
  • Health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and sleep apnea
  • Lifestyle factors such as physical inactivity, an unhealthy diet, heavy drug or alcohol use, and smoking
  • Being overweight
  • High cholesterol

While there is currently no cure for vascular dementia, there is ongoing research into potential treatments and preventative measures—including the use of melatonin. 

What Is Melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone that’s produced by the pineal gland in your brain. It’s involved in the regulation of the sleep-wake cycle and is commonly used as a supplement to help with sleep disorders, such as insomnia. 

There is ongoing research into the potential benefits of melatonin for a variety of health conditions, including memory conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s. 

Melatonin & Vascular Dementia: What Does the Research Say? 

Several studies have investigated the potential role of melatonin in preventing or treating memory conditions such as vascular dementia. However, there is currently no definitive clinical research to explore the direct benefits of melatonin for individuals with vascular dementia. Most of the current research relies on animal studies or trials related to the short-term effects of melatonin on cognitive function. 

One study found that melatonin treatment significantly improved MMSE (mini-mental state examination) scores for individuals with mild Alzheimer’s. Another study found that supplementing melatonin improved the cognitive function of healthy seniors. 

Overall, more research is needed to determine the long-term impact of melatonin treatment on vascular dementia. However, melatonin can be a safe and effective treatment for sleeping disorders, which may contribute to the risk of dementia. 

The Link Between Sleep & Vascular Dementia

Getting a good night’s sleep is essential to your health. Sleep is your body’s opportunity to rest and restore. While this is another area that ultimately needs more research, there have been studies that demonstrate a clear link between poor sleep and developing dementia or Alzheimer’s. 

Individuals with dementia are more likely to experience sleep disturbances, and these disturbances often correlate with the severity of dementia. With this in mind, melatonin treatment may be most beneficial for individuals with dementia who also have a sleep disorder. 

A senior woman and a senior man consulting their female doctor about dementia.

Alternative Treatments for Vascular Dementia

Unfortunately, there is currently no treatment available to cure or reverse vascular dementia. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there is evidence that drugs approved for the treatment of Alzheimer’s may also offer a modest benefit in people with vascular dementia. 

Treatment for vascular dementia is primarily aimed at preventing the condition from getting worse by treating underlying conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes. 

Controlling risk factors by committing to a healthier lifestyle may also have some benefit in stopping vascular dementia from worsening. This includes things like quitting smoking, eating a balanced diet, and getting more exercise. 

Your Partner in Memory Care

At Peregrine Senior Living, we are committed to supporting healthy aging for seniors. At our memory care communities, we provide seniors living with memory conditions with the comprehensive care and support that they need to live fulfilling lives. Contact our team to learn more.

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