Alzheimer's is considered by many experts to be the epidemic of the 21st century. As the world population gets older, patient numbers are increasing both in percentage and in absolute numbers. The incidence of Alzheimer’s increases with age. At age 65 it is about 10% of the population, and in every decade, the rate grows at about 10%. Therefore, at 85 or older, more than 30% of the people will suffer from Alzheimer’s. Nonetheless, 5%-8% of patients develop symptoms before the age of 65, sometimes as early as 30-40. We call that "Early onset Alzheimer’s".
Alzheimer's is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behaviour. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.
Alzheimer's and dementia basics
Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other cognitive abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer's disease accounts for 60% to 80% of dementia cases.
Alzheimer's is not a normal part of aging. The greatest known risk factor is increasing age, and the majority of people with Alzheimer's are 65 and older. But Alzheimer's is not just a disease of old age. Doctors do not understand why most cases of early onset Alzheimer's appear at such a young age. But in a few hundred families worldwide, scientists have pinpointed several rare genes that directly cause Alzheimer's. People who inherit these rare genes tend to develop symptoms in their 30s, 40s and 50s. When Alzheimer's disease is caused by deterministic genes, it is called “familial Alzheimer's disease,” and many family members in multiple generations are affected.
Alzheimer's worsens over time. Alzheimer's is a progressive disease, where dementia symptoms gradually worsen over a number of years. In its early stages, memory loss is mild, but with late-stage Alzheimer's, individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment. Alzheimer's is the 7th leading cause of death in the EU. Those with Alzheimer's live an average of eight years after their symptoms become noticeable to others, but survival can range from 4 to 20 years, depending on age and other health conditions.
Alzheimer's has no current cure, but treatments for symptoms are available and research continues. Although current Alzheimer's treatments cannot stop Alzheimer's from progressing, they can temporarily slow the worsening of dementia symptoms and improve quality of life for those with Alzheimer's and their caregivers. Today, there is a worldwide effort under way to find better ways to treat the disease, delay its onset, and prevent it from developing.
Symptoms of Alzheimer's
The most common early symptom of Alzheimer's is difficulty remembering newly learned information.
Just like the rest of our bodies, our brains change as we age. Most of us eventually notice some slowed thinking and occasional problems with remembering certain things. However, serious memory loss, confusion and other major changes in the way our minds work may be a sign that brain cells are failing.
The most common early symptom of Alzheimer's is difficulty remembering newly learned information because Alzheimer's changes typically begin in the part of the brain that affects learning. As Alzheimer's advances through the brain it leads to increasingly severe symptoms, including:
mood and behaviour changes
deepening confusion about events time and place
unfounded suspicions about family, friends and professional caregivers
more serious memory loss and behaviour changes
and difficulty speaking, swallowing and walking.
People with memory loss or other possible signs of Alzheimer’s may find it hard to recognise they have a problem. Signs of dementia may be more obvious to family members or friends. Anyone experiencing dementia-like symptoms should see a doctor as soon as possible. If you need assistance finding a doctor with experience evaluating memory problems, you can contact me. Early diagnosis and intervention methods are improving dramatically, and treatment options and sources of support can improve quality of life.
Alzheimer's and the brain
Microscopic changes in the brain begin long before the first signs of memory loss.
The brain has 100 billion nerve cells (neurons). Each nerve cell connects with many others to form communication networks. Groups of nerve cells have special jobs. Some are involved in thinking, learning and remembering. Others help us see, hear and smell.
To do their work, brain cells operate like tiny factories. They receive supplies, generate energy, construct equipment and get rid of waste. Cells also process and store information and communicate with other cells. Keeping everything running requires coordination as well as large amounts of fuel and oxygen.
Scientists believe Alzheimer's disease prevents parts of a cell's factory from running well. They are not sure where the trouble starts. But just like a real factory, backups and breakdowns in one system cause problems in other areas. As damage spreads, cells lose their ability to do their jobs and, eventually die, causing irreversible changes in the brain.
The role of plaques and tangles
Two abnormal structures called plaques and tangles are prime suspects in damaging and killing nerve cells.
Plaques are deposits of a protein fragment called beta-amyloid that build up in the spaces between nerve cells.
Tangles are twisted fibres of another protein called tau that build up inside cells.
Though autopsy studies show that most people develop some plaques and tangles as they age, those with Alzheimer’s tend to develop far more and in a predictable pattern, beginning in the areas important for memory before spreading to other regions.
Scientists do not know exactly what role plaques and tangles play in Alzheimer's disease. Most experts believe they somehow play a critical role in blocking communication among nerve cells and disrupting processes that cells need to survive.
It's the destruction and death of nerve cells that causes memory failure, personality changes, problems carrying out daily activities and other symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.
Research and progress
Today, Alzheimer's is at the forefront of biomedical research.
Researchers are working to uncover as many aspects of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias as possible. Ninety percent of what we know about Alzheimer's has been discovered in the last 20 years. Some of the most remarkable progress has shed light on how Alzheimer's affects the brain. The hope is this better understanding will lead to new treatments. Many potential approaches are currently under investigation worldwide.
The 10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s
Warning Sign #1: Memory Changes that Disrupt Daily Life
One of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s, especially in the early stages, is forgetting recently learned information. Others include forgetting important dates or events; asking for the same information over and over; relying on memory aides (e.g., reminder notes or electronic devices) or family members for things they used to handle on their own.
What are typical age-related changes? Sometimes forgetting names or appointments but remembering them later.
Warning Sign #2: Challenges in Planning or Solving Problems
Some people may experience changes in their ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers. They may have trouble following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills. They may have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before.
What are typical age-related changes? Making occasional errors when balancing a chequebook.
Warning Sign #3: Difficulty Completing Familiar Tasks at Home, at Work or at Leisure
People with Alzheimer’s often find it hard to complete daily tasks. Sometimes, people may have trouble driving to a familiar location, managing a budget at work or remembering the rules of a favourite game.
What are typical age-related changes? Occasionally needing help to use the setting on a microwave or record a television show.
Warning Sign #4: Confusion with Time or Place
People with Alzheimer’s can lose track of dates, seasons and the passage of time. They may have trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately. Sometimes they may forget where they are or how they got there.
What are typical age-related changes? Getting confused about the day of the week but figuring it out later.
Warning Sign #5: Trouble Understanding Visual Images and Spatial Relationships
For some people, having vision problems is a sign of Alzheimer’s. They may have difficulty reading, judging distance and determining colour or contrast. In terms of perception, they may pass a mirror and think someone else is in the room. They may not realize they are the person in the mirror.
What are typical age-related changes? Vision changes related to cataracts.
Warning Sign #6: New Problems with Words in Speaking or Writing
People with Alzheimer’s may have trouble following or joining a conversation. They may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue or they may repeat themselves. They may struggle with vocabulary, have problems finding the right word or call things by the wrong name (e.g., calling a “watch” a “hand-clock”).
What are typical age-related changes? Sometimes having trouble finding the right word.
Warning Sign #7: Misplacing Things and Losing the Ability to Retrace Steps
A person with Alzheimer’s disease may put things in unusual places. They may lose things and be unable to go back over their steps to find them again. Sometimes, they may accuse others of stealing. This may occur more frequently over time.
What are typical age-related changes? Misplacing things from time to time, such as a pair of glasses or the remote control.
Warning Sign #8: Decreased or Poor Judgment
People with Alzheimer’s disease may experience changes in judgment or decision making. For example, they may use poor judgment when dealing with money, giving large amounts to telemarketers. They may pay less attention to grooming or keeping themselves clean.
What are typical age-related changes? Making a bad decision once in a while.
Warning Sign #9: Withdrawal From Work or Social Activities
A person with Alzheimer’s may start to remove themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects or sports. They may have trouble keeping up with a favourite sports team or remembering how to complete a favourite hobby. They may also avoid being social because of the changes they have experienced.
What are typical age-related changes? Sometimes feeling weary of work, family and social obligations.
Warning Sign #10: Changes in Mood and Personality
The mood and personalities of people with Alzheimer’s can change. They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious. They may be easily upset at home, at work, with friends or in places where they are out of their comfort zone.
What are typical age-related changes? Developing very specific ways of doing things and becoming irritable when a routine is disrupted.
(Note: Mood changes with age may also be a sign of some other condition. Consult a doctor if you observe any changes.)
If you or someone you care about is experiencing any of the 10 Warning Signs, please see a doctor to find the cause. Early diagnosis gives you a chance to seek treatment and plan for your future. If you or someone you care about has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and you’re looking for help in managing the disease as well as making lifestyle adjustments that can help slow down or possibly reverse some of the symptoms, contact me
Early Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer's is diagnosed through a complete medical assessment. If you or a loved one have concerns about memory loss or other symptoms of Alzheimer's or dementia, it is important to be evaluated by a physician.
Steps to diagnosis
There is no single test that shows a person has Alzheimer's. While physicians can almost always determine if a person has dementia, it may be difficult to determine the exact cause. Diagnosing Alzheimer's requires careful medical evaluation, including:
A thorough medical history
Mental status and mood testing
A physical and neurological exam
Tests (such as blood tests and brain imaging) to rule out other causes of dementia-like symptoms
Having trouble with memory does not mean you have Alzheimer's. Many health issues can cause problems with memory and thinking. When dementia-like symptoms are caused by treatable conditions — such as depression, drug interactions, thyroid problems, excess use of alcohol or certain vitamin deficiencies — they may be reversed.
Finding the right doctor
Experts estimate a skilled physician can diagnose Alzheimer's with more than 90 percent accuracy. The first step in following up on symptoms is finding a doctor you feel comfortable with. Many people contact their regular primary care physician or internist about their concerns regarding memory loss. Primary care doctors often oversee the diagnostic process themselves.
Your primary care doctor may refer you to a physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias.
Neurologists, who specialize in diseases of the brain and nervous system
Psychiatrists, who specialize in disorders that affect mood or the way the mind works
Psychologists with special training in testing memory and other mental functions
Importance of Early Diagnosis
Although the onset of Alzheimer's disease cannot yet be stopped or reversed, an early diagnosis allows people with dementia and their families:
A better chance of benefiting from treatment
More time to plan for the future
Lessened anxieties about unknown problems
Increased chances of participating in clinical drug trials, helping advance research
An opportunity to participate in decisions about care, transportation, living options, financial and legal matters
Time to develop a relationship with doctors and care partners
Benefit from care and support services, making it easier for them and their family to manage the disease.
Life after diagnosis
Once testing is complete, the doctor will review results and share conclusions.
A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease reflects a doctor’s best judgment about the cause of a person’s symptoms. You may want to ask the doctor to explain:
Why the diagnosis is Alzheimer’s
Where you or your loved one may be in the course of the disease
What to expect in the future
Find out if the doctor will manage care going forward and, if not, who will be the primary doctor. The diagnosing doctor can then schedule the next appointment or provide a referral.
If you or someone you care about has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and you’re looking for help in managing the disease as well as making lifestyle adjustments that can help slow down or possibly reverse the disease, contact me
Alternative remedies for Alzheimer’s
A growing number of herbal remedies, dietary supplements and "medical foods" are promoted as memory enhancers or treatments to delay or prevent Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Claims about the safety and effectiveness of these products, however, are based largely on testimonials, tradition and some scientific research.
Concerns about alternative therapies
Although some of these remedies may be valid candidates for treatments, there are legitimate concerns about using these drugs as an alternative or in addition to physician-prescribed therapy:
Effectiveness and safety are unknown. Many supplements come from the USA. The rigorous scientific research required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the approval of a prescription drug is not required by law for the marketing of dietary supplements. The maker of a dietary supplement is not required to provide the FDA with the evidence on which it bases its claims for safety and effectiveness.
Purity is unknown. The FDA has no authority over supplement production. It is a manufacturer’s responsibility to develop and enforce its own guidelines for ensuring that its products are safe and contain the ingredients listed on the label in the specified amounts.
Dietary supplements can have serious interactions with prescribed medications. No one should take a supplement without first consulting a healthcare professional.
Caprylic acid is a medium-chain triglyceride (fat) produced by processing coconut oil or palm kernel oil. The body breaks down caprylic acid into substances called “ketone bodies.” The theory behind this is that the ketone bodies derived from caprylic acid may provide an alternative energy source for brain cells that have lost their ability to use glucose (sugar) as a result of Alzheimer’s. Glucose is the brain’s chief energy source. Imaging studies show reduced glucose use in brain regions affected by Alzheimer’s.
Some people with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers have turned to coconut oil as a less expensive, over-the-counter source of caprylic acid. A few people have reported that coconut oil helped the person with Alzheimer’s, but there’s never been any clinical testing of coconut oil for Alzheimer’s, and there’s no scientific evidence that it helps.
Coenzyme Q10, or ubiquinone, is an antioxidant that occurs naturally in the body and is needed for normal cell reactions. This compound has not been studied for its effectiveness in treating Alzheimer’s. Little is known about what dosage of coenzyme Q10 is considered safe, and there could be harmful effects if too much is taken.
“Coral” calcium supplements have been heavily marketed as a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and other serious illnesses. Coral calcium is a form of calcium carbonate claimed to be derived from the shells of formerly living organisms that once made up coral reefs.
Coral calcium differs from ordinary calcium supplements only in that it contains traces of some additional minerals incorporated into the shells by the metabolic processes of the animals that formed them. It offers no extraordinary health benefits. Most experts recommend that individuals who need to take a calcium supplement for bone health take a purified preparation marketed by a reputable manufacturer.
Ginkgo biloba is a plant extract containing several compounds that may have positive effects on cells within the brain and the body. Ginkgo biloba is thought to have both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, to protect cell membranes and to regulate neurotransmitter function. Ginkgo has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine and currently is being used in Europe to alleviate cognitive symptoms associated with a number of neurological conditions.
Huperzine A is a moss extract that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. It has properties similar to those of cholinesterase inhibitors, one class of FDA-approved Alzheimer's medications. As a result, it is promoted as a treatment for Alzheimer's disease.
Because currently available formulations of huperzine A are dietary supplements, they are unregulated and manufactured with no uniform standards. Taking these unregulated preparations could increase the risks of serious side effects, especially if used in combination with FDA-approved Alzheimer's drugs.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3s are a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA). Research has linked certain types of omega-3s to a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke.
Research has also linked high intake of omega-3s to a possible reduction in risk of dementia or cognitive decline. The chief omega-3 in the brain is DHA, which is found in the fatty membranes that surround nerve cells, especially at the microscopic junctions where cells connect to one another.
Theories about why omega-3s might influence dementia risk include their benefit for the heart and blood vessels; anti-inflammatory effects; and support and protection of nerve cell membranes.
Phosphatidylserine (pronounced FOS-fuh-TIE-dil-sair-een) is a kind of lipid, or fat, that is the primary component of the membranes that surround nerve cells. In Alzheimer’s disease and similar disorders, nerve cells degenerate for reasons that are not yet understood. The theory behind treatment with phosphatidylserine is its use may shore up the cell membrane and possibly protect cells from degenerating.
The first clinical trials with phosphatidylserine were conducted with a form derived from the brain cells of cows. Some of these trials had promising results. However, most trials were with small samples of participants.
Tramiprosate (clinically tested as Alzhemed, marketed as a "medical food" called ViviMind™)
Tramiprosate is a modified form of taurine, an amino acid found naturally in seaweed. Amino acids are the chemical building blocks of proteins. Tramiprosate was tested in a large Phase 3 clinical study as a possible Alzheimer's treatment. Analysis of the Phase 3 trial data was initially inconclusive for a variety of reasons. Investigators tried to work with the FDA to obtain clearer results, but the manufacturer decided to abandon development of tramisprosate as a prescription drug and market it over the Internet a "medical food." Tramiprosate currently has no proven benefits, and "medical foods" are not subject to the same level of FDA regulation as prescription drugs.
Here in Whole Is Well we assist in managing Alzheimer’s disease in a methodology which is based on the ReCODE protocol.
Dr. Dale Bredesen has created the ReCODE protocol that involves multiple strategies to address specific health issues that contribute to Alzheimer's Disease (AD). The results of each strategy are measured by using blood tests, cognitive evaluations, and other markers of overall health improvements. Actions are tweaked over time to aim for optimal lab and evaluation results. His analogy is to think of AD as a leaky roof - there are as many as 36 leaks in the AD roof that need to be addressed to stop the problem. Not every patient will have the same leaks, and the protocol is therefore customised based on the patient’s genetics, current health, and lifestyle.
His first published paper on the protocol, Reversal of Cognitive Decline, highlighted 10 case studies. Of those 10 people, nine showed enough improvement to return to normal life activities. Since then, several hundred people with cognitive impairment have followed the protocol, and most have seen a reversal of cognitive impairment. Dr. Bredesen is currently partnering with the Cleveland Clinic to test the protocol in a larger trial.
Although Bredesen does not see private patients, he is in the process of making the protocol available to the wider public with the help of healthcare professionals familiar with the protocol.
Bredesen’ s protocol has not been tested as a preventative. That said, research has shown that amyloid-β is deposited in E4 carriers at as early as their thirties, so addressing components early will likely lead to better health in aging. Patients who follow the protocol report improvements not only in health but also in cognition, even if they do not have an SCI or MCI diagnosis.
The following list links to summaries of why each strategy is important, and how we can help you with it.
Simple carbohydrates are foods that rapidly break down to glucose in the blood. Examples include sugar, honey, candy, syrup, juice, cereal, soda, white bread, instant oatmeal, junk food, and most foods that come in a box in the centre aisles of the supermarket. Over time, too many simple carbohydrates can lead to insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes.
Insulin is the hormone produced when you eat carbs, telling your body to take glucose out of the bloodstream. High blood glucose and fructose causes those molecules to stick to places they shouldn't be, aging your body. The higher your blood glucose levels, the more insulin your pancreas has to produce to take it out of the bloodstream. The cells of your body get used to the high insulin levels and start ignoring it, leaving high levels in the blood stream. Once that happens you become insulin resistant. Over time, insulin resistance can turn into diabetes. Diabetics have higher rates of cancer, heart disease, and stroke as well as Alzheimer's.
Low glycaemic foods take longer to break down to glucose in the blood. Good examples of low glycaemic foods are green vegetables, non-starchy vegetables, beans, and lentils. Lower glycaemic fruits such as berries, lemons, limes, tomatoes, and avocados are best, and go for the whole fruit, not juices. Whole wheat bread, undercooked pasta, potatoes, brown rice, and corn are examples of carbohydrate rich foods that break down a little more slowly, but they are not recommended by Dr. Bredesen. Generally, he recommends that foods with a glycaemic index lower than 35 should make up the bulk of your diet. Overall, low glycaemic foods tend to be unprocessed and whole foods. The more protein, fat, and fibre a food contains, the less glycaemic the food is likely to be.
Insulin is also produced when you eat protein, telling your body to take amino acids out of the bloodstream. The protocol recommends limited animal protein; one should choose mostly wild caught fish in 70-100 grams servings a few times per week.
Beyond glycaemic load, research shows that more people are sensitive to gluten-containing grains, like wheat and rye, than is commonly thought. Some argue that everyone is sensitive, to some degree. Foods containing gluten include bread, pasta, noodles, crackers, cereal, pancakes, tortillas, beer, most processed foods, even sauces and cosmetics. Oats is often listed as a grain to avoid because it is often cross-contaminated with gluten during processing. If you want more information about food intolerance testing, please contact me.
Inflammation is the body's way of repairing injuries. As we get older, our bodies become more and more inflamed due to dietary and environmental toxins as well as other health-related assaults. Dietary inflammation can be triggered because of sensitivities to transfats, gluten, other grains, and dairy, causing "leaky gut" where the intestinal tract develops small holes that allow fragments of food and/or bacteria to enter the bloodstream. These can trigger an immune response by our bodies. Overall, grains and dairy are not recommended by Dr. Bredesen because of the potential for inflammatory response.
Foods with transfats have recently been outlawed in many countries because they are linked to increased inflammation and poor health outcomes. Another fat, omega-6 oil, is more inflammatory than omega-3. Most processed food is loaded with soybean oil and other inexpensive omega-6 oils and should be limited. Some omega-6 is necessary in the diet; however, common diets provides way too much in the form of processed foods.
The fat profile of animal protein you eat is also affected by the food they eat. Conventionally raised animals are typically given high omega-6 diets of corn and soy. The protein produced contains a higher amount of omega-6 fats. Grass fed meats, poultry, and eggs provide a better omega-3 to omega-6 ratio.
Dr. Bredesen recommends healthy oils from avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. He feels MCT oil can help to improve insulin sensitivity, but he recommends switching to the healthy oil list once insulin resistance improves.
Dr. Bredesen also recommends eating detoxifying plants, including cilantro, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, kale, radishes, Brussel sprouts, turnips, watercress, kohlrabi, rutabaga, arugula, horseradish, maca, rapini, daikon, wasabi, bok choy, avocado, artichokes, beets, dandelions, garlic, ginger, grapefruit, lemons, olives, and seaweed. These help sequester and eliminate toxins from the body.
Enhance autophagy and ketogenesis
Autophagy means "self-eating." When you don't eat for longer periods, your body turns to itself for fuel by recycling the old bits and pieces that result from every day cellular functions.
Ketogenesis means making ketone molecules. When you sleep, after your last meal is digested and the resulting blood glucose used, your brain still needs energy. If you fast long enough, the body produces energy from turning your fat stores into ketones, which the brain can use in place of blood glucose. Medium chain triglycerides (MCT) can be used to help promote ketosis and improve insulin resistance. Coconut oil contains MCTs, but for some, coconut oil can raise lipid markers quite a bit. Dr. Bredesen suggests that E4s use MCT and coconut only as short-term crutches to ease into ketosis.
In the long term, a low-carbohydrate diet, along with fasting (minimum 12 hours overnight) and exercise will help sustain mild ketosis. Visit our page about ketosis and a ketogenic diet for more details.
Insulin is the hormone produced when you eat carbohydrates, telling your body to take glucose out of the bloodstream. If you eat more carbohydrates than your body can process, you can become insulin resistant. This can lead to diabetes, which doubles your Alzheimer's risk. For strategies to improve your insulin resistance, see our page on Insulin Resistance.
Improve Gastrointestinal Health
Good health starts with the gut. It's where your body sorts out the good stuff, like protein and vegetables, from the bad stuff like bacteria. A healthy gut contains trillions of microorganisms (called the microbiome), which use the food we eat to create things like vitamins and other nutrients our bodies need, and to do battle with pathogens that we are exposed to daily. Our microbiome affects our inflammatory response, our mental health and many other health-related issues. Symptoms of an unhealthy gut include diarrhoea, constipation, bloating, gas, and abdominal pain. If the inflammation is systemic, you might also feel joint pain and brain fog.
Unfortunately, overuse of antibiotics, which have their place in the medical arsenal, has resulted in a significant rise in gut-related illnesses, by killing off good bacteria together with the bad. Over time, poor dietary choices can also lead to changes in the composition of our microbiome.
Diet is certainly critical here, and food choices should not contribute to systemic inflammation. Inflammation can be triggered by transfats, gluten, other grains, and dairy causing "leaky gut" where the intestinal tract develops small holes that allow fragments of food and/or bacteria to enter the bloodstream. These can trigger an immune response by our bodies. For advice on testing for leaky gut you may contact me.
Although we recommend working with a health professional on gut problems, here are some steps for helping promote good gut health.
First optimize your diet. This will help you heal inflammation and leaky gut. If you fail to remove foods that are inflammatory for you, probiotics will be another source of inflammation entering the bloodstream.
Add Probiotics that may be missing in your gut. Fermented foods, found in the refrigerated section of the supermarket, are a great source of probiotics. Dr. Bredesen recommends Lactobacillus plantarum (from kimchi, sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables), Lactobacillus acidophilus (in fermented dairy), Lactobacillus brevis (from fermented sauerkraut and pickles), Bifidobacterium lactic (fermented dairy) and Bifidobacterium longum (fermented vegetables and dairy).
Prebiotics are carbohydrates that cannot be digested by the human body. They are food for the microbiome and probiotics. Foods rich in prebiotics include asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, bananas, oatmeal, onions, and legumes.
You may also consider high quality food supplementation. For advice on what’s best for you, contact me.
Rule out sleep apnoea
Optimise mitochondrial function
Look into supplementing with CoQ10 or ubiquinol, a-lipoic acid, PQQ, NAC, ALCAR, Se, Zn, resveratrol, ascorbate, thiamine.
Mitochondria are the organelles in your cells that generate energy.
There are several supplements that can improve mitochondrial activity. Please do talk to your healthcare professional before starting new supplements to make sure you will reduce the chances of interactions with other medicine or supplements you might be taking. We always recommend starting with a low dose to see how it affects you and increasing the dose if needed.
a-lipoic acid can reduce the formation of Alzheimer's disease plaques and increase the production of acetylcholine, an important signalling molecule that is impaired in Alzheimer's disease.
NAC (N-acetylcysteine) up to 400-500mg (to increase glutathione cellular protection) blocks oxidative damage in Alzheimer's.
Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR), up to 500mg per day.
Alzheimer's patients with low Se (Selenium) in their blood have been found to have more problems with cognitive function.
Optimise Zn:fCu ratio ideally to 1:1
Resveratrol Stabilizes Amyloid in Alzheimer's
Blood brain barrier dysfunction accelerates the rate of degeneration in Alzheimer's by impairing the ability of the brain to concentrate ascorbate (Vitamin C) and other nutrients with neuroprotective properties.
Lab Tests to Track and Treat
Insulin sensitivity (insulin and blood glucose) HgbA1c
Rule out heavy metal toxicity (mercury, lead, cadmium)
Optimise antioxidants (Mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols, Selenium, blueberries, NAC, ascorbate, a-lipoic acid)
Brain stimulation - Computational training for 45 minutes to one hour per day, 5 days a week, has been shown to improve mild cognitive impairment. This training is readily available from Posit Science
Reduction of Aß - ß (Amyloid beta) is the main component of the amyloid plaques found in the brains of Alzheimer patients. Consider taking anti-inflammatory herbs, such as Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), 500-1000mg, or spices, such as ginger (one or two 500mg capsules) or turmeric (400-600mg) or curcumin (1000mg on an emtpy stomach).
Increase NGF - (Nerve growth factor) prevents or reduces neuronal degeneration in animal models of neurodegenerative diseases. These encouraging results in animals have led to several clinical trials in humans. Hericium erinaceus (Lion's mane) 500mg twice per day. A clinical trial using this herb for MCI (mild cognitive impairment) was published in 2009 ; Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR) 500mg per day.
Provide synaptic structural components - Citicoline may be a safe and effective treatment for mild vascular cognitive impairment. Citicoline (Cognizin) 500 or 1000mg (alternatively, one can substitute alpha-GPC 500mg). DHA (docosahexaenoic acid, 300-1000mg) is an omega-3 fatty acid that is a primary structural component of the brain.
Increase focus - Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) 150mg (helps with alertness). B5 is required to synthesize coenzyme-A (CoA), which is important in the biosynthesis of many important compounds such as fatty acids, cholesterol, and acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter. Vitamin B5 may be important for elderly individuals who are starting to see signs of memory loss due to declining acetylcholine synthesis. It is possible that this vitamin may slow down the aging process in the brain and even prevent some of the damage associated with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Increase SirT1 function - SirT1 is an enzyme that deacetylates proteins that contribute to cellular regulation (reaction to stressors, longevity). Resveratrol is produced naturally by several plants in response to injury or when the plant is under attack by pathogens such as bacteria or fungi.
If you or a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or displays the 10 signs, do contact me as I’m sure I can help make things easier by appropriate management of the disease as well as slowing its progress.