11 Changes to Make Right Now to Fight Alzheimer’s Disease

Puzzle head

Making lifestyle and nutrition changes can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease, each of these modifications has multiple full-body health benefits, and many are generally advisable to incorporate into our daily routines anyway.

Low-glycemic diet. A diet with little or no added sugar or white carbs, and no grains (even no gluten grains!) to help minimize inflammation and minimize insulin resistance; both are linked to decreased incidence of Alzheimer’s.

Fast 12 hours each night. A 12-hour overnight fast, including the three hours before bedtime, to induce ketogenesis, reduce insulin levels, and reduce amyloid beta (Ab), amino acids that are linked to Alzheimer’s disease as the main component of the amyloid plaques found in the brains of Alzheimer patients.

Sleep 8 hours each night, treating sleep apnea and supplementing with melatonin if needed. Melatonin may have a protective effect against neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s; some evidence suggests that taking melatonin 2.5 mg to 3 mg before bedtime reduces the confusion and restlessness experienced by some dementia patients in the evening.  My suggestion is to use Melatonin short term to help establish healthy sleep patterns. Long term use is not recommended, remember these melatonin affects hormone production.

Reduce stress. Strategies vary by individual, and can include yoga, meditation, music, taking regular walks… with the goal of reducing cortisol levels and CRF (corticotropin-releasing factor), both risk factors linked to Alzheimer’s.

Exercise at least 30 to 60 minutes per day, four to six days a week. Physical activity reduces brain atrophy in elderly people at risk for Alzheimer’s disease, in the region of the brain thought to be the center for memory and emotion.

Vitamin B12 levels greater than 500. Low levels of vitamin B12 are a risk factor for cognitive decline. Serum B12 levels can be measured via standard lab test; supplement with vitamin B12 as needed.

Supplement with curcumin.  The active component of turmeric, curcumin has a natural anti-inflammatory effect, and is linked to a reduction of amyloid beta (Ab) peptides. The dosage I typically recommend for clients is 400-500 mg curcumin, two to three times daily. Curcumin is better absorbed in conjunction with black pepper, so ideally best to take with meals.

Supplement with vitamin D3 when necessary.  Vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer disease. Vitamin D can be measured by testing blood levels of 25-hydroxy vitamin D, and supplement with vitamin D as needed.

Add citicoline and DHA. Both provide structural components needed to promote the synthesis of new brain synapses. Supplementing with 1,000 to 2,000 mg citicoline daily seems to improve verbal memory in people aged 50 to 85 years.  And research suggests that higher dietary intake of DHA (an omega-3 fatty acid plentiful in fish like salmon and sardines) is associated with a decreased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Add probiotics. Boost immune system and help to reduce inflammation with probiotic-rich foods like plain coco9nut milk yogurt, kombucha, coconut kefir, and fermented foods like miso and sauerkraut.

Optimize antioxidants.  A regimen consisting of an antioxidant-rich diet plus supplements may help improve cognitive functioning and appears to be part of a safe, natural treatment for Alzheimer’s. Add more antioxidant-rich foods like blueberries and blackberries. Eat one Brazil nut daily for selenium. Supplement with 400 mg vitamin E (mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols), 500-1,000 mg vitamin C, and 200 mg alpha lipoic acid.

“Most people simply cannot incorporate all of these items into their daily regimen – there are limitations of money and time,” Myer said. “But take a look to narrow it down to see which behaviors you can incorporate, what’s realistic for you.”

Houghton is cautiously optimistic. “An anecdotal series like this is not the end all, be all, but it encourages the medical community to continue to look for ways to provide individualized care for our patients, and to incorporate specific functional foods, supplements and exercises into their treatment plan.”

The bottom line: The Bredesen Protocol targets the full spectrum of diet and lifestyle that our bodies need for optimal health, and is arguably a good idea for people to this protocol to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, as well as treat and reverse it. And regardless, this protocol will undoubtedly help to optimize other areas of our health and wellness as well.

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