Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. The term dementia signifies a deterioration of memory and loss of other cognitive functions which can occur while we get older and are serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60% to 80% of dementia.
Alzheimer’s disease can be devastating to the person getting it and to the family. However, it is not a normal part of aging and there are things you can do to help prevent it from affecting you. Here are some actions you can do to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease from affecting you.
Lose weight and eat right
Obesity doubles your risk of Alzheimer’s disease. If you are overweight, you have a high risk of developing diabetes and diabetes markedly increases your risks of developing Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, some physicians call Alzheimer’s disease Type 3 diabetes.
To avoid this, lose those extra pounds, get to a good weight rapidly, and keep it there. Multiple weight loss programs are available for you, including our own True Diet option. We can help you change your metabolism so you burn the fat and lose the weight. Plus, we can help you maintain that weight over time.
This involves a restrictive diet and a low carbohydrate diet and get the weight off. You want to maintain adequate protein so you don’t lose muscle mass and it’s okay to increase your fats. You need to eat fat to change your body’s metabolism to use fat for its necessary fuel. Essentially, you eat fat to burn fat.
Our program recommends a Ketogenic diet / Mediterranean diet variation. The Mediterranean diet has been the best diet shown to improve your health. Ketogenic diets add on to this benefit. They result in ketone formation which are energy units for your body and are what your brain cells can use very efficiently to function properly. Think of these as nutrients for the brain.
We recommend food with good fats, such as olive oil or avocados. Even coconut oil is good. This is a natural saturated fat and is okay to eat. Also called a medium chain fatty acid, studies have actually shown benefits to treatment of Alzheimer’s disease with coconut oil. Take 1-3 tablespoons a day but start slow and build them up gradually.
Avoid a high sugar high carbohydrate diet. Research shows that high blood sugar, which stimulates high insulin production, disrupts your memory and contributes to the shrinking of the part of your brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease, your hippocampus. Pick fruits and vegetables with a low glycemic index, such as berries. As a good rule of thumb, pick those with a glycemic index of <50.
If you are interested in losing weight yet your metabolism is “stuck”, and you just can’t seem to get those pounds off, consider The True Diet program at our office. When patients do our program as we prescribe it, they lose a lot of weight and are very happy.
Exercise your body and your brain
Strive to exercise every day, but at least do it 5 days a week for 20 minutes per session. Aerobic exercise can induce the production of new neurons and can protect the existing ones so less degeneration of your nerves occurs.
Exercising your brain is as important as exercising your body. Continue to keep your mind active. Keep intellectually stimulated. Read a book, do crossword puzzles, learn a second language, or whatever keeps your mind working. Remember, if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.
Be proactive and use supplements to attack the root cause of Alzheimer’s disease, inflammation. There are several supplements that could potentially help decrease your risk of developing dementias. Many decrease inflammation, some anti-oxidants, and others attack mechanisms within your body that speed up the aging process. Here is a short list of some supplements you should take:
- Curcumin (Turmeric) 500 mg twice a day
- Omega 3 FFAs (DHA and EPA), 1000 to 3000 gm per day
- Resveratrol at least 100 mg per day
- Alpha-lipoic acid 600 mg per day
- Vitamin D 5,000 u per day
- Probiotics at least 10B/capsule 1-3 times per day with 10 different strains
- Green tea extract
- Cat’s claw
Many of these supplements are available at our TrueMD office so stop by and pick some up. In addition, we offer wellness evaluations that can help you see what you should do to decrease your risks of developing age-related diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
For instance, we can order some laboratory tests that may help. These include:
- Vitamin D: you want to have a level >50 for best results
- Homocysteine <8 umol/L.
- CRP, 0-3 mg/L
- Hormone levels of Estradiol and Testosterone
Compared to levels of Vitamin D of >50 ng/ml which decrease your risk, levels <25 ng/ml doubles your risk, and levels between 25 to 50 ng/ml increases your risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 50%. Thus, keep you Vitamin D levels high.
Elevated homocysteine levels can damage the lining of your blood vessels, called endothelium. Levels above 10 umol/l can double your risk of developing Alzheimer’s. To potentially decrease this damage and decrease your risk, try taking berberine and B vitamins, especially the methylated form of folate.
Elevated CRP suggests the presence of inflammation in your body. Exercising, losing weight, eating right, reducing stress and taking the above supplements may help you get healthier, which may help decrease inflammation making your CRP levels go back to normal.
Hormone therapy, particularly estradiol, has been shown to reduce your risks of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. If you are low in these hormones, not only will you have symptoms of hormone deficiency, but may also not giving yourself the benefits of hormone therapy on your brain.
We recommend bioidentical hormone pellet therapy using estradiol and testosterone for women, and testosterone pellet therapy for men. Some of the testosterone gets converted to estradiol and this has been shown to be protective in men and women.
Nurture your Mind and Sole
Getting adequate sleep has been shown to decrease your risk of developing dementia. People who have impaired sleep are two times more likely to develop dementia than those who get 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night.
Reduce the stresses in your life, stay socially and spiritually connected. Maintain a positive attitude and don’t forget to laugh. All these have been shown to increase mental capabilities and are associated with longevity.