I don’t know about you, but Alzheimer’s scares me. It doesn’t run in my family – yet, I am concerned about cognitive decline (those increasing number of senior moments). What makes Alzheimer’s worse is that there is no good treatment for it – maybe a way to slow down the progress – but, not to cure it.
That is why this book was so intriguing to me! “The End of Alzheimer’s – The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline” by Dale Bredesen M.D. I’ve heard Dr. Bredesen on numerous podcasts and am intrigued as to his easily understandable and thorough understanding of this very complex disease.
Dr. Bredesen outlines the numerous causes of Alzheimer’s (including why some people are more genetically susceptible to the disease) and also describes 3 different modes for getting the disease. Chapter 5 is meaty in regards to the science – but, he writes it in more layman’s terms and the understanding of that Chapter could save your life – or, the life of someone you know.
According to Dr. Bredesen – there are 36 metabolic factors that can trigger the “downsizing” of the brain (which is what Alzheimer’s is). I won’t list them here – but, they range from optimal hormone balance, improving cellular function, improving immune function, optimal nutrient levels, and protein processing, and decreasing inflammation. That would be a lot to ask for in 1 pharmaceutical!!!
His therapy is meant to be started before the onset of advanced Alzheimer’s – basically – now. And, he has numerous patient stories that shows that it can be beneficial. It is NOT a pill – it deals with optimizing your diet and lifestyle.
Here are the steps:
- Know your genetic type. Most people don’t want to do this because if they are more susceptible – it may seem like a death sentence. That is not necessarily true – but, knowing will help you take the steps you can take RIGHT NOW to minimize and hopefully reverse any symptoms of the disease.
- Get important blood work done. Many of the tests he suggests are covered under insurance – but, some of them aren’t (especially inflammation markers, hormones, metals and vitamins). You can ask your doctor to order them – or you can order them yourself. He gives the optimum levels for these items.
- Optimize your sleep. Sleep is so important for repair and supporting brain function. He discusses the inherent risks of sleep apnea and other issues that can impact sleep.
- Optimize your cholesterol level. Here is where he goes against conventional wisdom that lower cholesterol is better. And, he has a lot of information to back it up. He states that LOW cholesterol is associated with atrophy of the brain (Total cholesterol below 150). However, he does state that you want to minimize your level of ‘oxidized LDL’ which is caused by inflammation.
- Start eating a more ketogenic diet. This is a diet which emphasizes fresh vegetables (preferably, non-starchy). Moderate protein and higher fat. The idea is to minimize insulin spikes and blood glucose levels (hence why they sometimes call Alzheimer’s Type III Diabetes). Stay away from gluten and dairy (as much as possible); avoid fast food.
- Incorporate exercise. About 45 – 60 minutes in total each day. It improves mood, sleep, brain neurogenesis and reduces stress. Take a walk, stretch, incorporate resistance training.
- Reduce toxins and inflammation. Inflammation can be caused by toxins in our environment, poor dietary choices and chronic infections. It is important to remove these issues to minimize inflammation.
Again, this I a lifestyle change. And, although it may be hard to put it all together – getting Alzheimer’s or suffering from cognitive decline will be much harder!
I highly recommend this book – and, hope that you read it.