My Mom died of Alzheimer’s and my Dad died of Parkinson’s disease. It was a long and sad journey to watch their bodies and minds deteriorate. My Mom ended up in an Alzheimers facility then eventually in a skilled nursing facility in her last days on this earth. She had not recognized any of us for over a year by the time she passed on. It truly is a sad, sad disease.
Currently, 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s. In 2019, Alzheimer’s and other dementias will cost the nation $290 billion, including $195 billion in Medicare and Medicaid payments. Unless a treatment to slow, stop or prevent the disease is developed, in 2050, Alzheimer’s is projected to cost more than $1.1 Trillion U.S. dollars!
Dr. Perlmutter (who wrote Grain Brain) serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Alzheimer’s he states, “this disease is, to a significant degree, preventable.” Perlmutter continues “The Journal of the American Medical Association, November 2nd, 2018, published an article. The article stated in a meta-analysis of 10 studies with over 2,700 participants looking at the effectiveness of, or lack thereof. There were two main classes of so-called Alzheimer’s drugs. Drugs that were based on cholinesterase inhibitors. The study found, not only are they not effective but they actually are associated with an increased rate of cognitive decline. And yet they are still on the market, still a standard of care!”
Shocking isn’t it? In fact, Merck, one of the largest drug manufacturer’s of drugs, recently pulled the plug on Phase III Alzheimer’s drug because of its inability to show significant evidence that it would be effective.
The only “hope” we have right now is prevention.
Let’s look at what science is saying can prevent Alzheimer’s.
Physical Exercise and Alzheimer’s
The Journal of Neurology vetted 14 different interventions for a new patient diagnosed with cognitive decline, including drugs like the above-mentioned cholinesterase inhibitors. The only thing they sanctioned was…EXERCISE! Science has known for a long time that exercise increases neurogenesis, growth of new brain cells, so let’s make sure we exercise at least three days a week for 30 minutes.
Dr. Dale Bredesen who wrote the book “The End of Alzheimer’s” actually has a section in the book called “how to give yourself Alzheimer’s.” Eat omega 6 rich foods (fast, fried, packaged foods), eat lot’s of sugar and flour-based products, don’t exercise, don’t eat colorful fruits and vegetables, etc. etc. This is a recipe for high blood sugar and inflammation, the precursor to Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
Watch your fasting blood sugar numbers. Western medicine still feels that anything under 100 is ok, not so according to the research. Anything over 80 is starting to create “insulin resistance” and this not only happens in your body where you can see it (belly fat) but this is happening in your brain as well. The best marker to watch is your A1C numbers, keep them at 5% or lower for the best brain support.
The overall consensus is to eat a low carbohydrate, moderately high-fat diet with lots of colorful low glycemic fruits and vegetables. The Ketogenic diet is being studied for reversal as well as prevention and is showing significant benefits. MCT (medium-chain triglycerides) oils, in particular, seem to “feed” the brain and restore function.
Fasting puts you into a state of Ketosis, where your body is running on ketones instead of sugar. Ketones “light up” the brain! Numerous studies are now showing the powerful benefits of fasting for longevity. Intermittent fasting (12-16 hour windows of no food) seems to show many of the same benefits so that may be a good place to start.
I’ve written about this numerous times but it bears repeating…..stress kills! A brain that is constantly flooded with cortisol and glycogen (which is released when under stress) will eventually be damaged. Meditation is a profound tool in your toolbox to lower stress, give it a try!
Sleep and Alzheimer’s
There have been many studies done on the classification of drugs for sleep such as Ambien, Lunesta, and even using Benadryl that show it may be a precursor to cognitive decline later in life. A study in the British Medical Journal showed that people who had used Benzodiazepines for more than three months had almost a 50 percent higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease over the following six years.
Look for the “root cause” of your sleep disturbances such as stress, hormone imbalances, drug interactions, inflammation, etc. Often we have a genetic mutation that causes the poor conversion to GABBA, a calming neurotransmitter. If you have severe sleep issues a Genetic test may help you find the root cause.
- DHA and EPA – 1,200mg daily
- Magnesium – 250-400mg daily (if lose stools decrease)
- Vitamin D3 – 5,000 IU daily (have your blood checked yearly)
- B vitamins – use methylated formulations (genetic testing gives you an accurate view)
- Broad-spectrum antioxidants – carotenoids and flavonoids (pomegranate, green tea are very powerful)
- Broad-spectrum multivitamin/mineral daily
Not only are these suggestions great for cognitive decline, but they also help with heart disease and cancer!!!
Just because you have the gene for Alzheimer’s (APOE4) doesn’t mean your doomed. We now know we can influence our gene expression to take a healthier pathway through diet and lifestyle. We truly are entering an age where if we educate enough people it may be “The End of Alzheimer’s”!!!
Blessings in health,