Diet Matters In Alzheimer’s Prevention, Treatment
Alzheimer’s disease is currently at epidemic proportions, with 5.4 million Americans — including one in eight people aged 65 and over — living with Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association’s 2011 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures. By 2050, this is expected to jump to 16 million, and in the next 20 years it is projected that Alzheimer’s will affect one in four Americans. You do not, however, have to feel powerless against this disease, as although there is no known cure as of yet, there are simple strategies available to significantly lower your risk.
Some of the best strategies for Alzheimer’s prevention, aside from avoiding excess iron, include:
- Fructose. Most everyone benefits from keeping their total fructose consumed to below 25 grams per day. Fructose has several modes of neurotoxicity, including causing damage to the circulatory system upon which the health of nervous system depends, as well as changing the brain’s craving mechanism. Since the average person is exceeding this recommendation by 300% this is a pervasive and serious issue. I view this as the MOST important step you can take. Additionally, when your liver is busy processing fructose (which your liver turns into fat), it severely hampers its ability to make cholesterol, an essential building block of the brain crucial to its health. This is yet another important facet that explains how and why excessive fructose consumption is so detrimental to your health.
- Improve Magnesium Levels. There is some exciting preliminary research strongly suggesting a decrease in Alzheimer symptoms with increase levels of magnesium in the brain. Unfortunately most magnesium supplements do not pass the blood brain levels, but a new one magnesium threonate appears to do and holds some promise for the future for treating this condition.
- Optimize your vitamin D levels with safe sun exposure. Strong links between low levels of vitamin D in Alzheimer’s patients10 and poor outcomes on cognitive tests have been revealed. Researchers believe that optimal vitamin D levels may enhance the amount of important chemicals in your brain and protect brain cells by increasing the effectiveness of the glial cells in nursing damaged neurons back to health. Vitamin D may also exert some of its beneficial effects on Alzheimer’s through its anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties. Sufficient vitamin D is imperative for proper functioning of your immune system to combat inflammation that is also associated with Alzheimer’s.
- Keep your fasting insulin levels below 3. This is indirectly related to fructose, as it will clearly lead to insulin resistance. However other sugars, grains and lack of exercise are also important factors.
- Vitamin B12: According to a small Finnish study recently published in the journal Neurology,11 people who consume foods rich in B12 may reduce their risk of Alzheimer’s in their later years. For each unit increase in the marker of vitamin B12 (holotranscobalamin) the risk of developing Alzheimer’s was reduced by 2 percent. Very high doses of B vitamins have also been found to treat Alzheimer’s disease and reduce memory loss.
- Eat a nutritious diet, rich in folate, such as the one described in my nutrition plan. Strict vegetarian diets have been shown to increase your Alzheimer’s risk,12 whereas diets high in omega-3’s lower your risk.13 However, vegetables, without question, are your best form of folate, and we should all eat plenty of fresh raw veggies every day.
- High-quality animal based omega-3 fats, such as krill oil. (I recommend avoiding most fish because although fish is naturally high in omega-3, most fish are now severely contaminated with mercury.) High intake of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA help by preventing cell damage caused by Alzheimer’s disease, thereby slowing down its progression, and lowering your risk of developing the disorder. Researchers have also said DHA “dramatically reduces the impact of the Alzheimer’s gene.”
- Avoid and remove mercury from your body. Dental amalgam fillings are one of the major sources of mercury, however you should be healthy prior to having them removed. Once you have adjusted to following the diet described in my optimized nutrition plan, you can follow the mercury detox protocol and then find a biological dentist to have your amalgams removed.
- Avoid aluminum, such as antiperspirants, non-stick cookware, vaccine adjuvants, etc.
- Exercise regularly. It’s been suggested that exercise can trigger a change in the way the amyloid precursor protein is metabolized,14 thus, slowing down the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s. Exercise also increases levels of the protein PGC-1alpha. Research has also shown that people with Alzheimer’s have less PGC-1alpha in their brains,15and cells that contain more of the protein produce less of the toxic amyloid protein associated with Alzheimer’s. I would strongly recommend reviewing the Peak Fitness Technique for my specific recommendations.
- Avoid flu vaccinations as most contain both mercury and aluminum!
- Eat plenty of blueberries. Wild blueberries, which have high anthocyanin and antioxidant content, are known to guard against Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases.
- Challenge your mind daily. Mental stimulation, especially learning something new, such as learning to play an instrument or a new language, is associated with a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s. Researchers suspect that mental challenge helps to build up your brain, making it less susceptible to the lesions associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
- Avoid anticholinergic and statin drugs. Drugs that block acetylcholine, a nervous system neurotransmitter, have been shown to increase your risk of dementia. These drugs include certain nighttime pain relievers, antihistamines, sleep aids, certain antidepressants, medications to control incontinence, and certain narcotic pain relievers.
A study found that those who took drugs classified as ‘definite anticholinergics’ had a four times higher incidence of cognitive impairment. Regularly taking two of these drugs further increased the risk of cognitive impairment. Statin drugs are particularly problematic because they suppress the synthesis of cholesterol, deplete the brain of coenzyme Q10 and neurotransmitter precursors, and prevent adequate delivery of essential fatty acids and fat-soluble antioxidants to the brain by inhibiting the production of the indispensable carrier biomolecule known as low-density lipoprotein.